Microsoft added a bunch of new features to Bing Desktop yesterday. For those not in the know, it is the company's year-old feature that allows users to search the web right from their desktop. While at the outset, Bing Desktop allowed users to use the Bing daily homepage as their desktop wallpaper and make quick web searches, the new version has taken it a step ahead.

With Bing Desktop, users can see what their Facebook friends are up to and check their news feed, photos, messages, friend requests, notifications – all without opening the browser. Those who are keen on trying this out, but do not have Bing Desktop yet, will have to first download it here. The lightbox that appears once the download is over, houses the Facebook icon and can be recognised easily. Upon quickly signing in, users can find all the aforementioned details. Then there is the wheel-icon for options, using which users can add tweaks to enhance their Bing Desktop experience, like picking a different theme colour and enabling auto paste text search function, among others. 

This is how your Facebook news feed will look on Bing Desktop

This is how your Facebook news feed will look on Bing Desktop

Users can also minimise the toolbar, if they choose to, by hitting the minimise icon. Those who want to launch the search box quickly using a couple of keystrokes can set a keyboard shortcut by going to the Preference option with Options.

The Top Contents option, which is denoted by a page-pen icon, gives users access to top news, trending images, top videos and other popular content right in the lightbox. Clicking on any of the images, videos, news articles will open it in a browser.   

Making tweaks

Making tweaks

Users can also choose which Bing wallpaper can go on their desktop, right from the lightbox. Other tweaks include the ability to control one's search history and specify whether to launch Bing Desktop when Windows starts. This update is available in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, India, China and Japan. 

In May last year, Microsoft unveiled a new design for Bing search engine. The new design saw the software giant introduce elements from Facebook and other social networks. Microsoft introduced a new, three-column screen design. Alongside the familiar search results displayed in blue to the left of the screen, Bing was said to be rolling out an instant snapshot column, displaying extra information and links most likely to be useful such as maps, reviews and reservation tools.

Microsoft also recently revamped the Bing social sidebar in an attempt to make it easier to find people relevant to a user's search based on all that they've shared, publically blogged or tweeted about. The sidebar will remain off to the right of the search results; this way users can decide the way they want to interact with it. Microsoft has, however, made changes to the sidebar's design.

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