Exclusive first video look at new Bing social search, coming next week, and my thoughts about Bing vs. Google

Yesterday I attended the Microsoft Bing press announcements and here is Microsoft's Stefan Weitz, who talks with me at length about what's going on in the social and search industries and he gives me a good look at the new Bing, which you can sign up to get at http://www.bing.com/new (Sorry, only going to be available in United States at first, we cover why in the video).

I also have had a few hours with the new Bing. Lots of the ideas here are impressive, but a few are disappointing because of their promise that isn't quite realized.

Key in the changes, for me, is the new social services. They've moved those to a pane on the right instead of cluttering up the search results with social stuff. That's a big change for Microsoft and comes right out of their customer testing. On the top it shows you people who know something about the topic you are searching for. +Chris Pirillo comes up in a search for Windows 8, for instance, which makes sense since he's pushing that around a bit with his dad.

But below, it's supposed to show you content that's been made around the social web that has something to do with the topic being searched on. In my experience it isn't focused enough, bringing in status messages that don't have anything to do with the topic being searched on. If Microsoft dramatically improves this this feature will really be massively cool since Bing is able to bring in content from Facebook, Quora, Foursquare, and other engines (they promise Google+ is even coming). Google, on the other hand, has decided not to use Facebook data at all in its search results so this could be a massive advantage for Bing. It just isn't quite there yet. See +Danny Sullivan's review for more on that.

But the interview is interesting because it shows what Bing is trying to do and I'm very excited about the future of social integration into search engines. There's something here.

That said, the other changes to Bing look really great. They simplified the user interface, have moved its database away from a page database to an entity database, which will let them bring back more useful results on a wide variety of platforms from mobile to tablets to big screens.

So, end result, I'll keep playing with Bing but are these new features enough to get me to switch from Google to Bing? Not yet, but if these features get built out with both more data and much more focused results, then I will find myself over here much more often.

This begs the question, though. Is Facebook doing a search engine and if it is, will it license Bing, or will it build its own?
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