Bing's music video search gets visual with hover-over previews and more contextual results

YouTube may have its own music awards, but with video sites turning into top destinations for free music listening, Microsoft's Bing wants to be a go-to source for your tunage searches.

Bing recently introduced a refreshed layout for music video searches that lets you quickly find popular videos, and related, songs, artists and albums, complete with hover-over previews directly within the Bing search results themselves.

Binging for music

If you search for music on the front page of Bing you won't notice any overt changes. As usual, you'll see a selection of videos related to your search at the top of your results page, followed by a series of links. Hovering your mouse cursor over those results, however, causes a pop-up preview box to appear and start playing the video.

An example of Bing's hover-over music video preview in action, in the video search results. (Click to enlarge.)

The videos come from YouTube, Vimeo, MTV, Artist Direct and other sources—basically anybody who's anybody in online music video. Clicking on a preview brings you to the full page for the song.

Bing video search

Bing's video search interface has been tweaked a wee bit more.

Searching for "Diamonds" by Rihanna. (Click to enlarge.)

Let's say you're searching for Diamonds by Rihanna. At the top of the video search results page, you'll see a new content box that Bing says includes the most popular video choice for that song. As with other video searches, hovering over the video thumbnail lets you see a short preview.

Next to the showcased video, you'll see information about the song such as the name of the album it comes from and the artist. To the right of that information will be a selection of songs related to your search—in this case, more popular songs by Rihanna.

Searching for the "Unapologetic" album by Rihanna. (Click to enlarge.)

If we change our search terms, however, and look for "Rihanna Unapologetic" (the album that includes Diamonds) the far right content box changes. Now we see songs from Unapologetic in album order.

The new top-level content box is the biggest change beyond the pop-out video previews. As with other video searches, the main content body offers links to videos related to your search terms. The right side of the video results page is also new offering thumbnails of related artists and albums.

A catchy single

Bing's new video search certainly looks nice, but its album listings should have been extended to the main web search. Searching for an album with Bing's web search will show you an ordered album track list—but unlike Google, Bing does not show a complete track list, instead opting to show only the first few songs titles.

Nevertheless, Bing's summary of video searches on the front page should suffice for anyone looking for a specific song, especially with the new pop-up previews. And for anyone who already uses Bing Video to find music, the fresh layout should make searching a little easier.

Refreshed layouts are a major theme for Microsoft right now as it brings the company's wide array of products in line with the company's Windows 8 and Windows Phone-style design language. The Bing video search refresh follows a complete Bing makeover announced in September.

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