Recently, Bing rolled out an update that de-cluttered the search results page. The designers got rid of the left navigation bar and cleaned the header. The result is a nice search result page with white space. As it turns out, Microsoft will be adding a social bar on the right side of the screen. The new social integration will be powered by Facebook. Announced on their Bing blog, the team has done a demo of the upcoming update. Here’s a video that you should watch before reading ahead:
The social sidebar, isn’t just a running feed but the integration is contextual. The blog post says:
- You will be able to ask specific friends for what you’re searching for
- Bing will use “likes” by your friends to determine if they know about a particular topic and you can ask for their inputs from the social sidebar
- Bing’s integration will also leverage the larger Facebook userbase and in case you don’t have or want to ask your friends, Facebook will suggest people you can ask
Google has been trying to do social & search for a while and Google+ is integral in this. However, Facebook is more popular than Google+ and for Microsoft, this is a good thing. The new social search will let you interact and ask friends for recommendations though the sidebar. Jay Greene for CNet reports that the integration came as a result of hackathons where Facebook and Microsoft’s teams came together at Microsoft’s California office. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg took interest in these hackathons and talked to the engineers working on this product.
In addition to the sidebar, the Bing team talked about “Snapshot” which lies between the upcoming sidebar and the search results. Snapshot will have actionable information.