Redmond, Washington — People who are connected with both Bing and Facebook should soon become more familiar than ever with the concept of “social search,” as Bing truly admires Facebook Likes: The Microsoft-owned Google competitor on Thursday expanded the partnership between its Bing search engine and Facebook by adding its “Liked Results” to include any URLs returned by its algorithmic search engine in the U.S., further emphasizing the ongoing battle with Google over the future of social search.
Barely last week, Google officially announced the incorporation of Tweets into search results. And surprisingly, just the same day Microsoft announced the integration of Facebook functionality into the the Bing toolbar and browser, but waited until today to announce the inclusion of likes.
Microsoft’s integration is practically identical to Google’s except that Bing leverages Facebook instead of Twitter. Now the integration of Facebook “Likes” into Bing’s results is continuing so that searchers can see which sites have earned their friends’ approval.
The Bing feature analyzes links that show up in its search results to see if Facebook friends have “liked” that particular URL. (Credit: Microsoft)
Lawrence Kim of the Bing Social Team had more on the Bing Blog:
For instance, if you search for hotels in Napa, you will see the standard list of search results, but you might also see your friends’ Facebook photos under certain returns with an annotation that says they have liked this particular hotel on Facebook.
“If your friends have publicly liked or shared any of the algorithmic search results shown on Bing, we will now surface them right below the result,” the Bing team wrote in a blog post.
Thursday’s announcement expands upon an October collaboration between Facebook and Bing that promoted links that friends “liked” or shared via Facebook. The company said that this integration was just “part of a longer journey,” and that it played a complimentary role to the company”s efforts in adding a social layer to is results, as it did with Twitter.
“This is the first time in human history that people are leaving social traces that machines can read and learn from, and present enhanced online experiences based on those traces,” Kim, the principal program manager for social search, said in a post on the Bing Team blog. “As people spend more time online and integrate their offline and online worlds, they will want their friends’ social activity and their social data to help them in making better decisions. Integrating with Twitter data 16 months ago was one step, and exploring social media Facebook’s rich streams is another.”
You may not see “Liked Results” on every query on Bing, which naturally depends on the number of friends you have on Facebook and how often those friends “like” things, but when it does trigger, it is often a delightful experience.
However, it is not clear how much a page’s “likes” will affect search results right now, but over time there could be more of a noticeable impact as search becomes more social.
The Bing blog post promised that additional changes are on the way, as well, so something even more interesting related to Facebook and social search may be introduced in the near-ish future. “We are hoping that it will make searching on Bing more effortless and enjoyable. We are continuing to work with Facebook to make search more social and relevant, so please check back again for more updates!”
Indeed, it is not hard to imagine that more people will now give Bing a try, as the battle lines have been drawn and it is Facebook and Bing versus Google and Twitter. We will have to wait and see just how social Google becomes and whether or not users will migrate to Bing for their search queries.