Microsoft on Thursday said that it is weaving insights from people's Facebook friends into Bing results as part of the biggest revamp of the search engine since its launched three years ago.
A new version of Bing will be rolled out in the weeks ahead and was to be widely available in the United States in early June.
"Increasingly, the Web is about much more than simply finding information by navigating a topically organized graph of links," said Microsoft online services division president Qi Lu.
"We're evolving search in a way that recognizes new user paradigms like the growth of the social graph, and will empower people with the broad knowledge of the Web alongside the help of their friends."
Google in January meshed posts from its social network into search results based on a similar belief that people value input from friends or others they respect.
The new version of Bing will feature a "social sidebar" that will list Facebook friends who may know something about a query topic, according to Microsoft.
For example, when handling a query about "Hawaii" Bing will check Facebook "likes," photos and other public profile information to suggest people who could provide useful insights, according to principal development lead Sandy Wong.
"You'll still see search results for Hawaii within the traditional Web search results," Wong said while giving the example.
"But, now you'll also be able to consider the advice of your friends who may know something about Hawaii."
Microsoft said that Bing improvements include faster, more relevant results and cleaner pages that will include "snapshots" that tightly summarize pertinent information.
"People are using the Web to do things in the real world, and that's a big change from where things were a decade ago," said Bing senior director Stefan Weitz.
"And so the 10 blue links that search has been predicated on for the last decade no longer makes sense. Simply put, that's not how you get things done."
© 2012 AFP