Brands can expect new ad models to emerge from the redesign of Bing. Microsoft introduced a new version of the search engine with a three-column design combining traditional Web search and social. The product will soon roll out in the U.S., but during the Bing Search Summit on Thursday executives did not announce a definitive date.
The combination of search and social signals will produce a clear and clean vision of user intent. Derrick Connell, corporate VP of search program management, said the right rail paid-search ads will remain in place and should perform slightly better. In the future, Microsoft will "start to experiment with new ad formats and models." The company can see the potential for new ad models that might include sharing revenue, but it had nothing to announce.
Qi Lu, president of the Online Services Division, said a better way to serve the intent is not necessarily by crawling the Web, but rather building a spot market for merchants offering goods and services. The engineering and business team are working on innovations that over time can leverage the new design and more closely serve ads based on a combination of signals.
The plan to create the same experience on Bing across many designs means mobile will take advantage of "swipe based" features that create the ability to span columns from left to right, according to Harry Shum, Microsoft VP of core search development.
Search pages must evolve or become obsolete, Connell said. Microsoft's investment in Facebook no doubt will help. And whatever privacy setting you have in Facebook, we will act on fully," he said.
While the left rail will continue to serve up search results, the middle column will give users a snapshot or relevant information and services related to the search, including maps, restaurant reservations and reviews. The aim is to provide the information before the searcher asks.
A sidebar titled "Friends Who Might Know" connects searchers to friends on social sites who may have insight into specific search queries. If a friend "liked" an Italian restaurant and posted photos from a recent trip to Los Angeles, they will serve up in related searches. The feature, which Microsoft likely took from insight gained from so.cl, moves the industry into the next generation -- the social-search engine. At the bottom of the column users will see "Activity," with the latest updates to Facebook News Feed.
For now, Bing will tap into as much publicly available data as possible from Facebook -- and soon Twitter and other networks. Microsoft had to make a move to compete with Google+. Microsoft reported operating losses from its online services division of $2.6 billion during its last fiscal year.
The redesign should not have an influence on Yahoo search results. Microsoft provides algorithmic results for all Web, image and video searches on Yahoo Search in the U.S. and Canada. While Yahoo continues to oversee the user experience for Yahoo Search, these updates are focused on the user experience on Bing and will not have a "material impact on the algorithmic search results we provide to Yahoo Search."