Bing has announced a redesign to its search engine, adding a column from users social networks to its natural search listings as well as other features to improve the quality of its results. The new three column layout will include an interactive sidebar dedicated to social results from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Quora, LinkedIn, Google+ and Blogger (including competitor social results rather than Google’s approach of excluding them).

Microsoft’s search engine Bing outlines these changes in a blog post, writing that “social media and the ability to share in real time presents an unprecedented opportunity to rethink how search should work. Suddenly an index of documents [websites] that does not embrace these changes is insufficient.”

Bing says that most people use search in order to make a decision, but only a handful make the decision without consulting friends or experts beforehand. Instead of including social results in the core web results, they have been separated in a sidebar, to distinguish the results in two columns providing “information from the web to help you take action and interact with friends and experts without compromising the core search experience.”

Bing  now allows for real-time interaction with social results, users can post questions to Facebook from the sidebar, and tag friends to elicit a response, with a key group of “best friends” asked to highlight what they ‘like’, the opportunity to “follow” key influencers via the search listings will be possible.

This screengrab gives an idea of how Bing’s new layout will appear. The web results (on the left hand column)  remain unchanged, while a central column  feature information, map listings, ratings etc. and a third column on the right brings in a social feed from all the users networks. This layout draws similarities to Tweetdeck in its layout and accommodates for a new way in which people use search engines.

Talk to Tug about Social Search, email: