Three years after its launch, Bing, Microsoft’s much hyped “Decision Engine,” is going in a more social direction. When it comes to common decisions like where to go for lunch, which product to buy, and which movie to check out, people often base their decisions on the opinions of friends or people they consider subject matter experts.
Microsoft’s overhaul of its Bing search engine service factors in more social signals since it mirrors the social nature of most people’s common decision making patterns. In this move and strategy shift, Bing is following in the footsteps of Google which, starting with its Caffeine update, started factoring in more social signals in how it ranks its indexed sites. Bing incorporates data from Facebook and other social networks to condition its results.
Of course, with any major change, there are bound to be hiccups and some rough edges. Bing’s incorporation of social signals is no exception. The new Bing still hasn’t been fully released to the public and that is one of the pet peeves of early reviewers. It makes sense for Microsoft to keep the new site largely under wraps while it tests it out to get the bugs and rough spots out of the way. Users who can’t wait can check out the new Bing at bing.com/new The new version will go on general release after a few weeks.
Changes To Be on the Lookout for
The first change that will get the attention of many users is the search engine’s new three column design. The three column result page segregates its rankings based on results from traditional sites, bloggers and subject matter enthusiasts, and your friends’ results.
The traditional results are in the left panel. The center column lists relevant resources and contextual data like restaurant or store location maps. If you search for specific establishments or businesses, you will get contextual information like reviews.