Microsoft today updated the Bing homepage with high-definition backgrounds, image captions, and a new Office Online menu. Unlike other Bing rollouts, this one isn’t gradual: The new features are available worldwide today.
Microsoft says one of the most requested features from Bing users is to offer HD background images. As a result, the Bing homepage will now show 1920×1080 images to fill the entire screen if you have a high-resolution display:
Bing’s background images on the homepage are one of the most striking features that differentiate the search engine from its competitors, so it’s nice to see them get an upgrade. Give it a few months though, and users will probably start asking for 4K versions.
Aside from looking great, users also appreciate that these images sometimes teach them something new. Microsoft has now added image captions that it says work “a little like the title cards you might see next to a piece of artwork in a gallery or museum.”
To take advantage of this feature, just move your cursor over the Info button to reveal the new image caption. Clicking on it will give you more information, and you can also download the image to use as your desktop wallpaper.
Also at the bottom of the Bing homepage is the carousel of trending topics, which you can customize at bing.com/profile/interests to show you news, stocks, weather, and flights you’re interested in. After learning that some users don’t like the carousel, Microsoft now lets you minimize it with the arrow button in the top left:
Last but not least, You can now access Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Calendar, People, OneNote, and OneDrive straight from Bing’s homepage. They are accessible from a new Office Online menu right on Bing.com:
Oddly, as you can see, Outlook.com is duplicated in the menu and in the top bar, for whatever reason. Clearly someone forgot to do some basic testing.
All in all, this is a notable update to Bing, both visually and functionally. Yet we doubt it will draw in any new users. This is nothing compared to the deal Yahoo managed to put together with Mozilla yesterday.
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