Have you seen the new Bing yet? We reported yesterday that Microsoft pretty much recreated Bing with the launch of its new format. The new format features three columns that display traditional search results, snapshot which provides the most relevant information to the user, and the social column that shows friends' recommendations. Underneath this massive change is another new Bing that hopes to change the way we search.
Bing director Stefan Weitz spoke to Fast Company yesterday about the change. He says that yesterday's change was in response to their need to "reinvent search." Weitz says that Google's method of "indexing" and "ranking" pages is no longer good enough. Their new method is focused on finding the answers in the search results themselves.
This new method of search is like bringing instant answers to the entire Web. Weitz says that their goal is to "model every object on the planet." He further clarifies by saying that Bing no longer indexes text, but rather associates "data that exists on the Web in all forms with the physical object that spawned it in the fist place." The hope is that they can create use this data to create apps that provide instant answers so that users won't have to click through to a Web page to the find the information they're looking for.
This method of search is way more ambitious than the current instant answer solutions on the Internet. Google's instant answers currently extends to things like weather and sports. The only search engine that could be considered comparable is the open source search engine DuckDuckGo. Its new service, DuckDuckHack, allows users to build their own plugins that provide instant answers in the search results for things like Twitter handles and song lyrics.
Of course, as Fast Company points out, this change has the potential to shake the SEO industry to its very core. Google is issuing update after update to its algorithm and Webmasters are doing what they can to keep up. What happens when Google, Bing and the rest provide the answers you need right from the search results. People aren't going to click through to the Web page anymore so normal search concepts just aren't going to be as important anymore.
Bing's redesign is just the first step towards this new method of search. It will still be a while before they start to offer an instant answer service that will make a lot of the normal tropes of search obsolete. Who knows? Maybe Google or the rumored Facebook search engine could come out first and beat Bing to the punch.
Do you think abandoning conventional search tactics is good for users and Webmasters? How will Webmasters adapt to the new rules of search? Will the new rules of search even catch on? Let us know in the comments.