Microsoft overhauls Bing in mission to innovate search
Microsoft on Thursday announced it will be rolling out the "most significant update" to its Bing search engine since it debuted three years ago.
The new Bing design eschews the decade-old single-page search result design that is a standard, and introduces a three-column interface that combines algorithmic search results (called "Core Web Results") with social network results (called "Sidebar" results) and actionable related services such as location, shopping, and more ("Snapshot" results).
Unlike Google, which integrates its Google+ social search data directly into search results, Bing pairs with Facebook, and then relegates it to its own sidebar to the right of the page. Here, Bing suggests Facebook friends who might be able to help you find an answer to your query based upon their "likes," profile information, and location tags/photos. Furthermore, it suggests public figures who might not be your friends, but who have posted information about subjects related to your query on Twitter, Quora, Linkedin, Blogger, Foursquare, or other social networks.
"People are using the Web to do things in the real world, and that’s a big change from where things were a decade ago," Bing Senior Director Stefan Weitz said in a blog post on Thursday. "And so the ten blue links that search has been predicated on for the last decade no longer makes sense. Simply put, that’s not how you get things done."
Of course, Microsoft has been waging a battle against Google's "ten blue links" since before Bing existed.
In 2008, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer issued an internal memo to Microsoft staffers: "In the coming years, we'll make progress against Google in search first by upping the ante in R&D through organic innovation and strategic acquisitions. Second, we will out-innovate Google in key areas--we're already seeing this in our maps and news search. Third, we are going to reinvent the search category through user experience and business model innovation. We'll introduce new approaches that move beyond a white page with 10 blue links to provide customers with a customized view of their world. This is a long-term battle for our company--and it's one we'll continue to fight with persistence and tenacity."
The new version of Bing will begin rolling out in the coming weeks, and will reach broad availabilty in the U.S. in June, a touch-optimized mobile version is expected at about the same time.