Bing Unveils New Three-Column Bing FormatBy: Shaylin Clark - May 10, 2012
Bing has unveiled a new redesigned interface for search results. The new interface is designed to be “natural, coherent, and useful,” according to Microsoft officials. The update uses a three-column format to provide users with more immediate access to necessary information, as well as social integration to help users see advice and recommendations from friends, as well as from experts.
The new interface constitutes Bing’s largest overhaul since Bing launched in in 2008. Microsoft says that the goal of the interface is to make Bing better at doing the kinds of things people use search engines for: finding information and getting things done in the real world quickly. Stefan Weitz, Bing’s Senior Director, noted that “people are using the Web to do things in the real world,” and Bing’s new interface is designed to facilitate that.
The new interface consists of three columns. First, on the left, is the improved web results column. This is where the kind of search results you’re used to seeing on Bing – the traditional “10 blue links,” as Weitz calls it – live. The second column is a called the snapshot. It consists of a selection of the most relevant information related to the user’s search, as well as offering action items through integration with services like OpenTable. The third column is the social sidebar. It includes recommendations by friends and experts related to the user’s search.
So, for example, if you do a search for restaurants in an area, the web results column will show your basic search results, the snapshot column will show a selection of restaurants and reviews, as well as the ability to make reservations through OpenTable, while the social column will include opinions and recommendations about local restaurants from your friends.
If you search for hotels, you’ll see a similar set of results. In this case, the snapshot columns allows you to check room rates and vacancies, and a link to make reservations.
The social column already includes Facebook and Twitter integration. Integration with other networks like Foursquare should be coming soon. “The New Bing” should be rolling out over the next few weeks, and will be widely available in the U.S. by June. In the meantime, check out a short video about it below, then let us know what you think in the comments.