Last week Microsoft launched its overhauled Bing search engine in the US, with its new three-column design and added social features which sees them take a step towards social integration within the search results;
Bing has put together a short video explaining the changes which you can find here; http://www.bing.com/videos/browse?mkt=en-us&vid=806a5bbb-addf-4039-bbeb-8578edffae4c
The new Bing is being viewed as a direct response to Google+ Your World, a fusion of Google+ social features and traditional search. However, Google recently launched its Knowledge Graph, attempting to make results more contextual and relevant — meaning Microsoft still has its work cut out if it wants to take back some market share from its more established rival.
According to a recent internal survey, nearly 75 % of people spend more time than they would like searching for information online. With Bing's new design, you can access information from the Web including friends you do know and relevant experts that you may not know letting you spend less time searching and more time doing.
If you haven't had a chance to try the new design, the new Bing is designed to utilise three columns: Standard, Snapshot and Social.
Column 1: Standard
Bing will continue its standard results in its 'first' column, This form of Bing is the results that you know or don't, but if you have used Bing, this is what you likely are familiar with already.
Column 2: Snapshot
This is the new action column. Fusing results from OpenTable, FanSnap, and Yelp, provides additional information about a particular search listing without having to leave Bing.
When Bing initially launched three years ago with the "Decision Engine" tagline, it was also billed as something that would help people accomplish tasks. But for the most part, it never really seemed to deliver on that promise in any unique way.
Snapshot, new information that appears in the center column, goes further toward delivering on tasks:
Above, you can see an example of Snapshot. It appears for the "Ray's Boathouse" listing. If you were to hover over that, reviews, a map to the restaurant and the ability to book reservations through Open Table would appear to the right, in the centre column.
Column 3: Social
Bing has for some time worked to integrate social elements into search. Here, Bing is going to bring in results from Quora, Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare and others. The idea here is that Bing takes in your networks that you have built, your social graph, and makes it relevant as you search. Also, the product will take in 'experts' from around the web to make sure that you have proper human guidance
In the sidebar, various social elements may appear depending on how relevant Bing decides they are to your search. In the case below for a search for Costa Rica this triggered three of the four main elements you may see:
- Ask Friends
- Friends Who Might Know
- People Who Know
- Activity Feed
With the integration of social results into the right hand column this may mean that for certain searches the top positions will become more competitive and essential to driving PPC traffic as there is a great likelihood that side ads will be pushed further down the page.
For all our campaigns within Bing US we will be closely monitoring average positions during the upcoming weeks along with insight of previously weekly performance to evaluate whether we see any impact as a result of these changes.