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.
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.
"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.