The new version of Bing released in early June has a much cleaner look with its new three-column design. The updates were based around how real people use search outlined in the Microsoft Internal Survey Research, completed fall 2011. 1. The first column (left-hand side) is the organic search results. According to Bing, consumers can perform traditional Web searches faster, with more relevant results using the new, cleaner user interface. 2. The second column (middle) is called Snapshot where users can quickly complete tasks by viewing useful information related to their searches in a single “snapshot” – all in one place in a separate column. You’ll find more information on events, restaurants, movies and businesses (let’s not forget PPC ads). If you are searching for a hotel, Snapshot will let you select check-in and check-out dates, see interior room views, along with user reviews. Bing says over time Snapshot will expand to a greater number of places, people and things. 3. The third column (right-hand side) is called the Sidebar. The sidebar lets users interact with Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Skype, Blogger and Quora. There are four sections within the sidebar:
- Ask Friends: As you search you can post a question to friends on Facebook, or “tag” friends Bing suggests might know about the topic you are searching.
- Friends Who Might Know: Sidebar lets you post a question to your Facebook friends while you’re searching (you have to authorize Bing). Bing suggests friends on Facebook who might know about the topic you are searching based on their “likes”, Facebook profile information, or shared photos. You can then ask them about their experience or get their opinion. You and friends can ONLY see the information you can already see about each other on Facebook.
- People Who Know: Bing can help you find people who are influential or knowledgeable about the topic you’re searching, based on what they’ve publically blogged or tweeted about. In a glance you will see top experts and enthusiasts from leading networks like Twitter, Foursquare, Quora, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Blogger to quickly check out what they have to say about the topic you’re searching for. You can follow them, ask them a question, or see what they’ve shared in the past.
- Activity: The activity feed within the sidebar lets you see posts and queries you and friends have chosen to share from Bing. You can answer friends’ questions, or “like” something interesting they’ve shared. Because these activities show up in both Bing (activity feed) and Facebook, you can comment on them from either place.
Bing states, “The new features in Bing are designed to help people complete tasks combining the best information from the Web, rich data organized in a better way, and the input of friends and experts.” For more information about the new Bing updates and features, read their press release, The ‘New’ Bing: Transforming Search from Finding to Doing or recent postings on the Bing search blog.