A few weeks back,
Bing made some design changes to its search results pages that were meant to offer a new de-cluttered experience and make it easier for users to quickly find the best
results for their queries.
Microsoft’s search engine added some more changes on Thursday, one that highlights different results
types in three vertical columns and, most importantly, finally does social
search right (and much better than Google).
Now, when a SERP pops up, everthing from the center to the left
side of the page will show the algorithmic text results. To the right of that,
context results will appear, including maps, reviews and actionable input
fields. Finally, the far right side of the screen displays “social assistance”
results; this focuses on social network connections (notably from Facebook) and
experts who can help searchers find the information they want.
One of the best social assistance features is an “Ask
Friends” option that lets users request help from their Facebook friends in
sorting through results. After entering a question, Bing will automatically
post it to the users’ Facebook profile along with a link to the user’s current
search. If any friends make recommendations, the searcher will be notified in
the social assistance sidebar.
Overall, this is a solid addition
and further advances the company’s efforts to cut down on a lot of the clutter that can quickly become distracting and cumbersome for users.
Of course, this is also probably a shot at Google’s attempts at social search with its integration of Google+ to create
Search Plus Your World, which has been accused of overemphasizing the importance of Google+ content.
In addition to the latest design tweaks, Bing is
including more social functionality into its product. Thanks to an instant
personalization partnership with Facebook, users will be able to see what their
friends have liked in search results, which shows up as a thumbs
up icon next to the text results. However, Facebook Likes won’t have an effect on search
For more information about the new design, click here, and here for a video highlighting the new social search features.