Microsoft May 11 unveiled a major update to its Bing search engine, which the software giant claims will fundamentally transform the way users search the Web. With an eye toward social media, Microsoft also made sure this new version of its search engine offered users a way to integrate information from their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Microsoft said the update is the most significant since the company launched Bing three years ago and is designed to help users act quickly by taking advantage of the Webs evolving fabric, which has become increasingly social.
"With the new version of Bing, rolling out over the coming weeks and broadly available in the U.S. in early June, people can easily get advice and recommendations from friends and experts with the new social sidebar," according to Microsoft.
Users also can view useful, action-oriented information via the new Snapshot feature. And they can find what theyre looking for faster, with more relevant results and a refreshed user interface. All this is presented in a new, three-column design that focuses on helping users take the leap from finding information to making quick, informed decisions.
Liveside.nets Kip Kniskern cited the new Snapshot and Sidebar features of the new Bing in a May 10 post:
"Last week, we saw Bing roll out a new design featuring a clean, new look, the removal of the left-hand sidebar, and an uncluttered, simple and fast architecture. Now today, with the announcement of the New Bing, we see the reason for cleaning up all that area and creating all that white space: two new components of Bing, announced today, will enable search for the first time ¦ to flow across social networks, according to Qi Lu, Microsofts president of online services, who spoke at a press event and Webcast today."
Increasingly, the Web is about much more than simply finding information by navigating a topically organized graph of links, said Lu, in a statement. Were evolving search in a way that recognizes new user paradigms like the growth of the social graph, and will empower people with the broad knowledge of the Web alongside the help of their friends.
The new Bing updates were developed in response to user research showing that people use search engines to save time and get things done quickly, Microsoft said. More than two-thirds of consumers use search to accomplish tasks, according to a Microsoft user survey. Yet 60 percent wonder whether they have found the best information available for what theyre trying to do, and 52 percent find themselves entering multiple queries and visiting lots of sites for searches that shouldnt be so hard.