Microsoft Bing preps for an HTML5 overhaul

Just how fancy do you want your search engine to be? Microsoft Bing is preparing to roll out a new set of features, including “search previews as you type,” “animations that make search come alive” and “seamless transitions between pages.”

It’s a far cry from the days of the simple search box and a list of links.

That list is from a Microsoft splash page that emerged over the weekend, describing a not-yet-live preview of some new features planned for the Redmond company’s search engine. WinRumors reports that the features are part of an HTML5 overhaul for Bing, first shown by the company last fall.  The splash page says the preview will work in the Internet Explorer 9 beta (and presumably the final version when it comes out soon), in addition to Chrome and Safari 5.

The enhancements to Bing are the latest step in an ongoing feature war between Microsoft and Google, as the Redmond company’s partnership with Yahoo has made it a more formidable rival in the market.

Google has been in the spotlight in the past for adding features that look a lot like Bing, but the search giant beat Microsoft to the punch with “search previews as you type,” by adding its Instant Search capability last year. That was before the two companies tussled over Google’s allegations that Bing was mimicking elements of its algorithm.

Separately, Microsoft last week announced a new partnership with the Kayak in travel search, effectively teaming up against Google as it attempts to buy travel search company ITA Software. Kayak and Microsoft are both among the companies opposing that deal.