By Vamien McKalin | May 13, 2012 04:53 PM EDT
The battle between Microsoft's Bing and Google Search is slowly intensifying as both companies are hard at work on new updates for both platforms. The latest is coming from Bing; it looks to be the most extensive update ever done by Microsoft on the Bing Search engine. Microsoft is evidently pushing hard to get enough marketshare in the search business to help with the cost of Bing's yearly billion dollar loss.
The new Bing is putting social at the forefront of the experience, and we have to admit, it looks great. When the new Bing rolls out to everyone, it will include social data from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogger, and soon, LinkedIn, Quora, and Foursquare. If done correctly, Bing Search could be the first Search Engine to get social integration right on the money. We've seen Google's effort with its Search Plus Your World feature that utilizes data from Google+. However, it's not very useful.
The new design user interface is beautiful and easy on the eyes, and even looks a little like Windows 8. There are three sidebars or search panes, and Microsoft call these Search Knows, Bing Knows, and Friends Know. All three search panes are designed heavily with social in mind, and this is where Bing surpasses Google in search social integration.
Microsoft removes all social and contextual related search results and has placed them elsewhere from the Search Knows column. This column will now show raw search results, something Microsoft claimed users want according to one of Microsoft's own surveys.
The Friends Know pane is on the right, this gives Bing a striking resemblance to Windows 8 which is not a bad thing. Here users would get relevant search results based on your friends social network activities, furthermore, if you searched for an answer to a question, Friends Know would bring up the answer from a friend if they knew it, or you can simply as your friend right there from the search pane.
When you make a search query, Bing Knows is capable of bringing up data and figures from shopping and data sites. It can also provide information for ticket prices to a concert or prices for things you want to buy.
Bing Search has been slowly growing in popularity in the US with over 30% market share. However, Microsoft is far from having similar success outside of the US. Hopefully these new features can bring Bing out of its slumber and into a place where it can be considered as a viable alternative to Google by those who are still on the fence.
(reported by Vamien McKalin, edited by Surojit Chatterjee)