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For Bing and Google, the future of search is social

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(Read caption) The new Bing results page, which incorporates social search.

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Remember Bing?

It's a search engine, introduced in 2009 by Microsoft in order to compete with Google. As of last month, it claimed about 11 percent of the search engine market, leagues behind Google, and just a notch above Yahoo. It's always been hard not to root for Bing: A scrappy underdog, with plenty of fighting spirit and a pretty homepage, which rotates through scenic views of various locales around the globe. Even the name sounds optimistic. (Bing!) 

So for Bing lovers, here's some happy news: Over the new few weeks, Microsoft will roll out a social revamp of Bing, in the mold of Google's Search Plus Your World. In essence, the new Bing search result pages will encompass three panes. The leftmost pane consists of standard search results – the "core" of a Bing search. The center pane will be a "snapshot" – a map, for instance, or an aggregation of restaurant reviews. 

And the rightmost pane will be social results. You'll be able to ask friends for suggestions or sift through an activity feed of Twitter and Facebook posts. 

"Our aim has always been to help you do more with search, and over the past three years we have made exciting strides to realize that vision," the Bing Team wrote in a blog post yesterday. "Today we are taking a big step forward as we begin rolling out what is the most significant update to Bing since we launched three years ago." The new Bing, they continued, will promote social search "without compromising the core search experience."


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