Microsoft is dipping its search brush into its paint bucket and getting ready to swipe it across Bing, the world's second most popular search engine behind Google. The new-look Bing will take on a three column design that Microsoft says is "the most significant update" to the search engine since it launched three years ago. Microsoft is looking beyond simple keyword searches and putting a big part of its focus on sharing search results by incorporating a Facebook column on the right-hand side.
"Now it’s possible to do more than find pages with search. You are able to share nearly everything you do, including where you are and who you are, in real-time," Microsoft explains. "From rich multimedia content to real-time streams to social conversations to applications that let you take action in the real world, digital connections are created that present the opportunity to do something. This presents an unprecedented opportunity to rethink how search should work. Suddenly an index of documents that does not embrace these changes is insufficient."
The social sidebar is always present and supposedly "never intrusive." It will appear as part of every search query, though it's whisked to the right side of the browser. Most of the social content that used to appear in the main search pane will be shuttled to the side. You'll be able to share links and comment directly to Facebook using the sidebar.
It isn't all about social networking, however. The other two columns will consist of core web results, which will take up the largest third of the screen, and a 'Snapshot' center column with relevant information and services related to your search, such as maps, restaurant reviews and reservations, and more.