A week ago, Microsoft quietly changed how Bing search results look and work, but this week the company is making a much bigger change: Bing will soon provide a completely new user experience that is the biggest change in the service’s three year life. (It will debut in early June, Microsoft says.)
“Increasingly, the web is about much more than simply finding information by navigating a topically organized graph of links,” says Microsoft president Qi Lu. “We’re 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.”
As you can see from the screenshot below, the new Bing user experience melds last week’s simpler search results page with new elements, creating a new three column view.
Basically, this update appears to be largely about adding social networking capabilities—through Facebook and other services—to the search results. According to Microsoft, new features include:
Improved web results. Perform traditional web searches faster, with more relevant results using the new, cleaner user interface.
Snapshot. Quickly complete tasks by viewing useful information related to their searches and compiled by Bing as a single “snapshot” – all in one place in a separate column.
Sidebar. Take action based on the recommendations of friends and experts in the sidebar, which is displayed in a third column, separate from main Web results page.