Microsoft's new, more social Bing goes live in the U.S.

Microsoft's new, more social Bing goes live in the U.S.

Summary: Microsoft's new three-pane Bing design highlights inputs from users' social networks, and adds a more Metro-inspired design.

TOPICS: Microsoft

Last month, Microsoft outlined plans for a new three-column Bing search design that would make available social input from contacts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Google+. On June 1, Microsoft rolled out that new design for users in the U.S.

Here's what it looks like:

(click on image above to enlarge)

A new look for the Bing home page -- with a larger daily image and photo tiles -- also has gone live for those of us here in the U.S. Here's what that looks like:

(click on the image above to enlarge)

The new three-column design includes a Metro-fied and more spartan search page, a list of search results "compiled by Bing" ("snapshot") in a second column; and social results from personal contacts (if you sign into Bing and link Bing with your social networks) and influentials in the third "sidebar" column.

Here's how Microsoft describes Snapshot:

"It includes information, such as maps and reviews, and quick ways to take action, so booking a restaurant reservation or checking hotel rates are now quicker and easier. The snapshot feature offers restaurant reservations, hotel reviews, movie trailers and show times, maps, and more right within the search experience; giving you everything you need to take action in one place and eliminating the need to visit multiple sites to complete tasks."

While the social sidebar can be collapsed so recommendations only show minimally, I can't find a way to completely get rid of it -- something I'd like to do, as I am not among those who want to see social links when I do a search.

Microsoft had been testing various new home page and search results page designs among users (without letting them know in advance) for the past several months. Microsoft officials still have nothing new to say about when and if users outside the U.S. will see these changes.

Topic: Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Mixed Use

    In the last 6 months, I've been utilizing Bing more and occasionally checking against Google. (Disclosure: I'm a big GMailer and Live/Hotmail users. I live in both ecosystems, but only use SkyDrive for cloud storage cause I can't pass up 25Gb)

    Between using Bing on the web and on my Windows Phone (HTC HD7s), I'm loving the service more that Google. The only time I really go back to Google is when I compare the mapping features (particularly aerial photos). I find the search results return what I'm looking for and at least point me in the right direction. I also don't feel like I'm sifting through ads. I know Bing has them, but they don't seem to bother me.

    I think many in the tech blog and journalism world are missing how Bing is positioning itself. Facebook is still a heavily used company despite the IPO hiccups. Facebook also to many people is the internet (almost like AOL was 15-20 years ago). Bing capitalizing on those search requests is critical. I only wish Facebook would acknowledge in way that Bing is the search component.
    • I've been using Dragon...

      So I get the Chrome engine without the intrusive EULA. Then I use Bing to get rid of some of the unnecessary spying Google does on my searches. I agree that Bing has become more useful. If they had street view like Google, I could quit using Google maps. That is the only thing keeping me going there.
      • I guess I just don't understand fully

        about people's complaints with google. However, I only use Google for doing research when I'm writing a book. I also use Bing, as it's often very interesting how some of the results vary in different searches.

        I don't use Google for maps, or email, so maybe that's why I don't feel as if I'm being watched or followed; but also I don't really spend any other time on the internet, except for research.....
  • Don't get it

    First of all the minimalist Metro look has got to go - it's [b]UGLY[/b]. The rest looks like a rip off of Google.

    Second (and this goes for Google too) - why do I care what others are searching for? I use a search engine when I want information, not what someone else is looking for or some other BS.

    I could care less what the top search is. I just want good and relevant results. That's why I skip Bing and use Google.
    • Disagree

      I don't use the Social part of Search in either Google or Bing, but I can see the appeal for people who use thoe services heavily. They ARE likely to appreciate knowing what their friends opinon may be on a restaurant or food type or movie.

      Regarding the minimlaist look of Metro, well that is a matter of opinon, and IMHO it's great. Less clutter (Google) and just focus on what I want to see. Crisp and clean look (easy to read).
    • I'm actually agreeing with you! I could care less what the top search is.

      I just want good and relevant results.

      That's why I skip Google and use Bing.
      William Farrel
  • Yuck I hate social search!

    Total violation of my privacy, yuck yuck yuck! Microfail sucks again!
    • So very very true

      Tried it again.... even tried it via facebook login....
      Holy Crap!!!!! Let me out!!!!!
      Not what I want or need.
      Back tp Google. Better results and way more built in functionality.
  • who uses this crap?

    When Google is the best search engine out there...
    • Tech researchers who have something to protect..

      that is who uses anything but Google. We don't trust Google with our project security. I realize the other engines are not much better, but you have to pick the least evil source in the room.
  • Another Microsoft Crap product

    Microsoft is just beatin a dead horse. It just will not do any better when compared to Google! Hey Microsoft 'How about building a product right the first time that does not need patches?'
  • Ho hum

    I don't choose my friends or relatives for their taste in movies; most of my friends live in cities far enough away that their restaurant choices are useless, and my reading material derives from my particular interests. "Social" is just another layer of data which has to be first sorted into information vs noise - not unlike Yelp (most of the reviewers don't know what good food is).
  • Bing Pollution

    In my opinion they have polluted the home page which use to hi-lite the picture as focus. It appears to be a new polluted mess with an added picture distraction. It use to make a great "not in your face" browser home start screen.
  • Does Microsoft knows there is life beyond USA

    Really I can't opinate just because the feature is not available in Canada. I hate when this happens. Many apps for Windows Phone I cannot download in Canada. Even some features in the OS itself are not available. Is this going to be the same way with Windows 8? To bad that there are those attempts to segment things for different countries instead of a open approach. Don't understand me wrong, I am a heavy Microsoft user and I just wanted that Microsoft would do business in a different model than other companies in which I don't trust.
    Andre Velloso