The socially-augmented, Facebook-laden version of Bing’s search engine is now live for all people in the U.S., Microsoft announced today.
The new Bing, first revealed in early May, features a three column design with search results on the left; a “snapshot” center column with maps, reviews, movie times, and restaurant reservation options; and a right-hand strip of Facebook updates from friends who might be able to help with your queries.
“Whether it’s making a purchase, choosing a restaurant or deciding what movie to see, our new Bing design offers unique ways to bring friends and experts right into the search experience,” the Bing team explained in a blog post. “We now show you which friends have liked or might know about content related to your query and will identify experts and enthusiasts that can provide recommendations on the topic of interest.”
Bing’s search-plus-social experience aims to help people accomplish more while searching with the help of their Facebook friends. The redo echoes Search Plus Your World, the recent Google search rollout that pivots around Google+ data, but offers searchers a bit more in the way of two-way communication.
The launch also underscores an ongoing change in search as a product and industry. Traditional search engines, often thought of as passive, single-person experiences, are in state of flux as players seek to make search more encompassing of today’s landscape, where web and mobile denizens are finding more of the information they seek on social networks or in apps. We’re not convinced that Google or Microsoft have hit on the perfect formula — Google leans too heavily on Google+ data and Bing requires too much action of the user — but we do expect search and social to become even less like disparate entities in the months and years ahead.
To celebrate the U.S. launch of the new Bing, Microsoft will be running ads on television and the web, and doing a big social media push in a “Bing Summer of Doing” campaign.