Bing, for some reason, has a different look for its search results when you switch to the US version. It has a more ‘Metro’ look with plenty of whitespace and not that horrible gradient at the top – like every other international version of the search engine. Well, now, it’s getting some new things – and like usual, will only be available to the United States.
Sort of annoying since I just realised that Bing had a new design and compared it with the Australian edition – and it’s far much better.
Bing is introducing a third column on its design – dubbed the “Sidebar”, it lets you interact with your Facebook friends and ask them questions based on search results. So, if you’re looking for a restaurant or hotel, you can ask your friends (it’ll even suggest who to ask) for some suggestions, or will find people who are ‘influential’ about the topic on Twitter, FourSquare, Quora, Google Plus or Blogger. It will also let you keep up with what is happening with your friends on Facebook.
It will also introduce a new “Snapshot” feature – relevant information about what you are searching and condense it down, and will also be used to do some of the more commonly attempted tasks on Bing, such as maps and restaurant bookings.
Microsoft has also said that it has improved the search results so that “consumers can perform traditional Web searches faster, with more relevant results using the new, cleaner user interface,” according to its press release.
And if you’re scared about privacy, Microsoft reassures its users that it has put in place policies to protect your privacy. “We have implemented technologies that provide relevant results while maximizing protection for your data and your privacy. When using Bing and signed into Facebook, Bing will only surface content your friends could access by viewing your Facebook profile directly,” Derrick Connell, Corporate Vice President for Bing, wrote on a blog post.
Take that as what you want it to mean.
Users in the United States will be getting it in a couple of days, while mobile devices will get the new Bing features in a couple of weeks. And like I said before, international users are most likely not going to see these things – because Bing is focused on being a US-centric search engine, despite the fact that Windows Phone, which uses Bing, is much more global.