Photo: Flickr/Esther Dyson
The other shoe has dropped on Microsoft’s recent Bing redesign, and it dropped right on Google.Microsoft is adding a new Sidebar to Bing search that shows your contacts and activity on all your social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and — yes — Google+.
Google drew a lot of fire earlier this year by integrating information from Google+ into search results.
The big problem with this is that Google doesn’t offer info from other social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, as prominently. And some data from those networks isn’t available through Google at all because Google didn’t sign the business deals it needs to get them.
Microsoft did. And it’s using this access to trump Google in social search.
The Sidebar separates social data from your main search results — unlike what Google does with Google+. It also includes a real-time activity feed, and will suggest contacts who might be able to help you with a particular search query. For instance, if you’re looking for information on travelling to China, Bing might direct you to a set of Facebook photos from one of your friends who recently traveled there.
It can also recommend “experts” on particular topics based on their tweets, public Facebook posts, or public posts on other social networks like Quora.
Bing is also going to add information from other social networking services, including LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Skype, to the Sidebar, this summer.
Bing has also separated core Web results from links to its own services like Bing Maps or reviews — those kinds of links now appear in a third column called the Snapshot. It’s not a major change, but it does make the main search results cleaner.
Here’s a closeup of the new Snapshot (left) and Sidebar (right):
And here’s what the full results look like. Stay tuned for a walkthrough, coming soon.