Bing revealed its big redesign, which put a heavy emphasis on social search. Microsoft announced the new version of Bing.com is now available to all U.S. users. The new search interface opts for cleaner search results, a three-column design, and deeper Facebook integration.
The move to the pared down search experience and social sidebar you’ll find on the new bing is Microsoft’s response to Google’s attempt at merging its own social network, Google+, with its search results. On Google, pages your friends have shared on Google+ or have +1′ed (Google’s alternative to the Facebook “like”) appear at or near the top of search results. Microsoft instead, claims that moving social off to the side lets its own social results “complement the standard search results without compromising them.” It’s a message buried amid a ton of happy noise in Microsoft’s blog post about new Bing’s official U.S. debut, but it’s a real zinger. Microsoft is essentially saying that Google’s move to infuse its search results with Google+ has damaged their quality.
Microsoft, of course, is an investor in Facebook and powers the web search and maps on Facebook’s social network. Although Google remains the top search engine by a wide margin, getting people to “switch” their affiliation may eventually end up happening not by consumer choice, but by default. As more people use Facebook to search the wider web, more will use Bing.
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