Bing Gets Tiles, Sorta

By  |  Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 3:36 pm

ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley has a funny way of referring to Microsoft’s new interface fascination: “Tiles gone wild.”

The latest example is Bing, which is rolling out rectangular widgets from partnering websites to appear in certain queries. Searching for a movie, for instance, brings up user ratings from IMDB and reviews from Rotten Tomatoes in little boxes next to their respective search results.

And yes, Microsoft is referring to these widgets as “Tiles,” the same terminology the company uses to describe part of Windows Phone 7’s interface.

Is there a grand tileification afoot at Microsoft, in the same way that bubbly apps are defining Apple products? Maybe. Windows watchers are murmuring about a tile-based interface for the tablet component of Windows 8, and the Xbox 360 dashboard is looking more tile-like than ever after its latest update. As one of Microsoft’s newer products, Bing would fit right in with these design choices.

But outside the aforementioned movie reviews and hit counts for YouTube videos on Bing, I’m mostly seeing glorified links with no information brought to the search page. If these widgets are supposed to be part some unified Microsoft aesthetic, they need to convey more useful information and arrange themselves in a less sporadic manner.

Still, I like the idea of bringing more information directly to search pages, as long as they don’t get in the way of other results. Tiles could be a neat and orderly way to accomplish that.

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