Microsoft has unveiled the most wide-reaching update to its Bing search engine since launching three years ago, with a new social sidebar.
The sidebar will include links from an array of social media sites including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.
Microsoft said it had developed the update based on feedback from user research that showed that 60 per cent of web users were not certain that their searches gave the best possible results.
The updated Bing will also feature a cleaner interface, removing the left-hand panel that was used to display related searches and search history and moving some of that information to the top of the page.
The main body of search results will now appear on the left-hand side of the results page, with a middle column dedicated to Bing's so-called snapshots.
These snapshots provide additional information about some of the search results. For example, a search on a hotel would provide the most relevant results in the left-hand column and a series of reviews about the hotel in the snapshot column.
The final column on the results page will be dedicated to social searches. That will include information such as Facebook contacts that may know about the topic being searched or a link to discussions on Twitter.
“We want to make it easy for people to accomplish anything they set out to do by allowing them to tap into the wisdom of their friends and of the broader web,” said Derrick Connell, corporate vice president of Bing.
The new-look Bing will be rolled out to users in the coming months and is expected to be broadly available in the US by early June. No indication has been given on when the update will come to UK users.
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