Last week, Redmond-based software giant Microsoft announced the roll-out of a new, redesigned Bing search engine, meant to provide users with new ways of interacting with their friends online.
As part of this redesign, Bing got a fresh new interface, structured on three columns, enabling people to stay connected with social networks without compromising the core search experience.
Starting today, the new Bing is available for all users in the United States to take advantage of when heading over to www.bing.com/new.
The most important feature that the new Bing arrives with is the dedicated social “sidebar” found on the right, which integrates search and people in social networks.
“With sidebar, Bing brings together the best of the web, with what experts and your friends know, giving you the confidence to act. This new way to search lets you share, discover, and interact with friends like you do in real life,” Derrick Connell, vice president, Bing, explains.
“If you’re on the go, you’ll notice we’ve optimized the layout and placement of the social results on the mobile device for smaller screen sizes and for touch input, so the user experience will be different than what people see on a PC.”
Through this feature, Bing is able to suggest friends on Facebook that might know something on the topics you are searching for.
These suggestions are delivered based on what people “like” on Facebook, or according to their profile information, and photos they've shared.
“For example, if you’re searching for diving spots in Hawaii, you might see a friend who lived in Hawaii, your sister who shared photos from her honeymoon in Hawaii, and a buddy who ‘likes’ a restaurant in Hawaii. You can then ask them for recommendations right from Bing,” Derrick Connell notes.
However, these suggestions might not be to your liking at all times, due to various reasons. One of these involves the permissions you created for Bing to access Facebook information and content.
According to Microsoft, Bing will respect users’ privacy and won’t deliver these results based on the status updates or other Facebook content that friends might have shared. Friends who clocked the Bing app or opted out of Facebook personalization won’t appear either.
The addition of these social features to Bing represents only one step that Microsoft is taking towards providing users with a new search experience on its portal. New features and enhancements are expected to emerge in time, based on the feedback received from users.