The Washington Post

Bing remakes search to be more social

Vendor Patrick Porter works on a laptop marked with the logo for Bing, Microsoft's recently upgraded search engine. (Elaine Thompson/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Bing is taking even more steps to make search more social, further integrating Facebook into its regular results.

The Microsoft search engine, which is gaining marketshare and striving to be seen as a way of taking action rather than simply a directory for the Internet, is undergoing a complete makeover.

In a company blog post, the Bing team said that search has gone beyond keywords and labels, and is now a tool for buying things, booking flights and other actions — a place for verbs, not nouns. And the new search design is supposed to make it easy to do things with your friends.

For those worried about their search queries being taken over with widgets and meaningless social results, the Bing team is trying to address those concerns upfront.

“Over the coming weeks, we will be introducing a brand new way to search designed to help you take action and interact with friends and experts without compromising the core search experience,” the company said.

The search page now has several columns: one for core search results, one for displaying information such as maps or hotel ratings, and one that adds relevant information from Facebook.

Bing users will be able to post search queries to Facebook — i.e. asking for help searching for hotels — and will also suggest Facebook friends who could help with your query based on public data in their profiles. It will also suggest people who are influential in areas you’re searching by crawling Twitter, Foursquare, Quora, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Blogger for public information related to your search query.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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