Microsoft today announced that it was jazzing up it’s search engine Bing, which is still way, way behind global leader Google. The big changes, include a new, three-column screen design,with familiar search results displayed in blue to the left of the screen, rolling out an instant snapshot column, which displays extra information and links most likely to be useful such as maps, reviews and reservation tools.

But its what’s on the right column of Bing, that left tech websites buzzing. On the right users and their Facebook friends will be visible, giving them the option of asking their advice on a search. Users can also access their contacts on LinkedIn , Twitter and other networks.

The move comes after Google announced early this year, that it would include results from it’s own social network, Google plus into its search results. The Microsoft-Google war has been going on for sometime, with Microsoft accusing Google of spying on users. This new revamp is clearly one of the strategies in this ongoing struggle.

Bing plus Facebook. Screengrab

So how did this new design change take place for Bing? According to CNET’s Jay Greene, there’s an interesting story to it and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is involved.

Ten developers from Microsoft flew into San Francisco in late February last year to bang away on code with ten counterparts from Facebook.

This hackathon, something the two partners do with some regularity, had a special guest as the day wore on: Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg. The crew spent hours swapping ideas and sharing code, coming up with new ways to integrate Facebook’s social network into Bing’s search technology. Near the end of the day, Zuckerberg talked to the assembled coders.

“Zuck said, ‘Don’t try to do social by building social on the side. Build it into the experience,'” Microsoft corporate vice president of search program management Derrick Connell recalled. For more you can read CNET’s complete story here.

The new redesign of Bing is a clear indicator that search on the web is all set to get more ‘social.’ What this is ideally means is that tweets, flikes, plus, and shares are set to get integrated into general web search. There’s no doubt that users are taking in vast numbers to social media and are reposting and sharing, million and millions of links. It’s therefore logical to assume that these too should become searchable on the web someday.

The big question remains that whether integration with Facebook will give Bing more users. The new design of Bing will be live for users in a few days. Those who register will get it earlier. However the link for registering is not active for India users.

Publish date: May 11, 2012 11:50 am| Modified date: May 11, 2012 11:50 am

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