Bing is a cornerstone product for Microsoft. It is a brand that ties many products together as the search service is tightly integrated with nearly all of Microsoft’s products. Described by Steve Clayton as the most significant change to the service in three years, the video below describes the new service better than we ever could.
Microsoft has reworked the search results from the ground up and the results is a three column layout that you see at the top of this article. On the far left are the algorithmic results. These results will not be cluttered with social status update (a dig at Google) and give you the content based on the machine generated results.
The center column is what Microsoft is calling ‘Snapshot’ and it will show relevant information based on the item that you are searching. This is where Bing will show relevant maps, photos, and other non-text based content.
The most dramatic change will be the third column as this will be the social aspect of Bing’s new layout. Microsoft calls it “social search done right” as getting things done often involves the help of others. The idea is for the social aspect to not impose restrictions on any of the search results but instead to help you find the information that you are looking for.
There are several key features as the sidebar allows you to easily ask friends, share your results with friends and Bing can even help you locate friends who are experts on the subject matter. You can learn more about the new social features here.
Microsoft is making big changes to Bing (and is listening to feedback too) to help make it your search engine of choice. With the social aspect being refined and introducing new features, will it be enough to sway users away from Google? Only time can answer that question but Bing is not complacent at second place in the search arena and with constant refinements to its search pages like we are seeing today, the future looks bright for Bing.
The US will get the first crack at the new features in the next few days and in the coming weeks the mobile version of Bing will be updated too.