Bing Tackles Social Search with New Redesign

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Golda Criddle
Golda Criddle
May 11, 2012
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Google’s Search plus Your World is finally getting some competition. Yesterday, Bing announced plans for its own redesign; one aimed to match or even surpass Google’s recent update. Not surprisingly, Bing is focusing on social search with a slogan of “Spend Less Time Searching, More Time Doing.”

The redesign adds a right-hand column that includes “people” results from social networks Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Quora and LinkedIn. While you’re searching, you can even ask questions on your favorite social network without even leaving Bing. You can also add links from your Bing searches to these posts in order to further answer your questions.

For example, if you search for “drake hotel chicago” in the new Bing, pictures your friends posted on Facebook of their exploits in Chicago will show up in the results. Any hotel that your friends have “liked” on Faceook will be marked with the signature “thumbs-up.” Of course, this feature requires you to be logged into Facebook via the Bing app.

This new column is called “What Your Friends Know,” appropriately named to accompany the first column “What the Web Knows” and the second column “What Bing Knows.” The latter won’t fill up for every search, but will be most helpful when searching for restaurants, hotels, movies, events, and people. You’ll be able to make hotel and restaurant reservations from this second column, and search for the right person across multiple social networks.

Compared to Search plus Your World, Bing’s new search results could be seen as more cluttered as there are potentially three (or four with ads) different columns in each page of surfing. But there is also potential for better organization with three columns clearly dividing each section, instead of including social results within the search like Google does. Also, with clear integration with social network giants Facebook and Twitter, Bing may very well have a leg up, at least in relevant people results.

Bing needs an advantage. According to comScore, Google accounted for 66.4 percent of searches in the U.S this March. Mashable noted that Bing and Google appear to offer different search philosophies: one a blend of data and one with clear distinction from social results. Which do you prefer? Feel free to share your opinions below!

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