Microsoft unveiled a major update to its Bing search engine yesterday that fundamentally transforms the way users search the Web. The update, the most significant since Microsoft launched Bing three years ago, is designed to help users act quickly by taking advantage of the Web’s evolving fabric.
With the new version of Bing, rolling out over the coming weeks and broadly available in the U.S. in early June, people can easily get advice and recommendations from friends and experts with the new social sidebar. They can also view useful, action-oriented information via the new snapshot feature. And they can find what they’re looking for faster, with more relevant results and a refreshed user interface. All of this is presented in a new, three-column design that focuses on helping users take the leap from finding information to making quick, informed decisions.
“Increasingly, the Web is about much more than simply finding information by navigating a topically organized graph of links,” says Qi Lu, president of Microsoft’s Online Services Division. “We’re evolving search in a way that recognizes new user paradigms like the growth of the social graph, and will empower people with the broad knowledge of the Web alongside the help of their friends.”
The new Bing updates were developed in response to user research showing that people use search engines to save time and get things done quickly. “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,” says Bing Senior Director Stefan Weitz. “And so the 10 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.”
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.
- Improved Web Results: Consumers can perform traditional Web searches faster, with more relevant results using the new, cleaner user interface.
- Snapshot: Users can quickly complete tasks by viewing useful information related to their searches and compiled by Bing as a single “snapshot” – all in one place in a separate column.
- Sidebar: Consumers can take action based on the recommendations of friends and experts in the sidebar – displayed in a third column, separate from main Web results page.