Microsoft is following in the footsteps of Google, integrating new social search features into its search engine.
“Today we are taking a big step forward as we begin rolling out what is the most significant update to Bing since we launched three years ago. Over the coming weeks, we will be introducing a brand new way to search designed to help you take action and interact with friends and experts without compromising the core search experience,” said Derrick Connell, corporate vice president, Bing and Dr. Harry Shum, corporate vice president, Bing R&D in a post on Microsoft’s Search Blog.
The changes are designed to highlight more relevant search results on the web by placing emphasis on social recommendations and “making your friends part of the search.” Microsoft explains that social recommendation plays a large part in decision making, “research tells us that 90% of people consult with a friend or expert before making a decision.”
The new Bing relies on searchers’ existing social circles on Facebook and Twitter for more social results and recommendations from friends and family. It also introduces a new three-column approach with Core Web Results on the left; a results “Snapshot” with maps, restaurant reservations and reviews in the middle column; and a Sidebar on the right that features social results from “experts” and friends.
Earlier this year Google introduced a more social search experience with Search Plus Your World, a feature designed to integrate personalized search results into the main search experience. The deeper social search experience is based on users’ prior search history and social interactions on social networking sites such as Google+.
Microsoft is also bringing social search to mobile users with an optimized layout and better placement of social results on the mobile device for smaller screen sizes.
Users will start to see the new version of Bing in the coming weeks. Broader availability is expected in the US by early June.
If you want to be among the first to try out the new changes visit www.bing.com/new and sign up to be notified when the changes are rolled out.