Microsoft gives Bing a facelift

May 10, 2012 at 3:09 PM
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BELLEVUE, Wash., May 10 (UPI) -- U.S. technology giant Microsoft said its online Bing search engine has gotten a face lift with help from Facebook.

Microsoft said it had redesigned the search engine to incorporate more data from the world's largest social network Web site, but without the clutter of previous attempts to do so, The New York Times reported Thursday.

In an initial phase of the integration of searches and Facebook, Microsoft had results of the search annotated so the listing also showed if any of the friends of the searcher had indicated on Facebook they "liked" the Web pages the search turned up.

The new design has Facebook information -- only concerning friends and only from pages that are accessible to the public -- tucked away in a sidebar.

The first attempt was "a good experiment," Derrick Connell, a corporate vice president of Bing program management, told the Times.

The new design, "very elegantly incorporated a lot of information into the search results page, which is a formidable challenge," said Rebecca Lieb, an industry analyst at the Altimeter Group.

The battle front is, of course, for market share -- more searches means the potential for more advertising revenue.

Microsoft's share of searches in the United States rose from 13.9 percent to 15.3 percent from March 2011 to March 2012. Google dominates with a 66.4 percent share, comScore reported.

Microsoft is looking for brand identity that will help turn Bing around. Bing designers, said Qi Lu, president of Microsoft's online services division, needed to answer the question, "Why Bing?"

Bing was launched in 2009. In Microsoft's last fiscal year, Microsoft's online services lost $2.6 billion, the Times reported.

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