Microsoft's Bing search engine is increasing its emphasis on the recommendations shared within Facebook's online social network to give people something they can't find on Google's dominant search engine.
Microsoft added new social features to Bing, making it easy to see what people?s Facebook friends like across the Web. Starting Monday afternoon, Bing's search results will vary depending on whether the person making a request is logged into Facebook's online social network at the same time.
Also available today is the new Bing Bar, which includes the first universal Like button, making it easy for people to like any page on the Web.
"The best decisions are not just fueled by facts, they require the opinions and emotions of your friends," said Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president, Bing. "Search is now more than a fact finder ? we?re marrying fact-based search results with your friends? street smarts to combine the best data on the Web with the opinions of the people you trust the most and the collective IQ of the Web."
Bing now uses the interests shown by friends on Facebook to deliver a personalized search results.
How the Features Work
Microsoft data shows that nearly half of people surveyed say seeing their friends? likes within search results could help them make better decisions, and who better than a group of trusted friends to guide everyday decision-making? The new features of Bing make this possible:
- Liked results, answers and sites. Cut right to the good stuff, by seeing what stories, content and sites friends have liked right in the search results.
- Personalized results. Bing is surfacing content friends have liked from deep within search results to the top of the page.
Bing also brings the "collective IQ" of people to decision-making online when friends may not have the right expertise or a person may not know exactly what they?re looking for:
- Popular sites. See collective like results related to trending topics, articles and Facebook fan pages to find the most popular content. When searching a recipe site, for example, see what articles on the site people have liked to help find the perfect recipe for dinner.
- Social messages. Searchers also can benefit from knowing what major brands and companies are sharing on Facebook. For example, when planning a vacation and searching for a rental car, Bing will show recent Facebook posts alerting people to a new deal at the top of the results.
By combining Facebook?s communication tools with Bing, search can also become conversational. The vision of Bing is to combine the power of discovery with the empowerment of conversation:
- Expanded Facebook profile search. Sometimes people need a friend right away, and Bing now lets them hit the fast-forward button to the right Facebook friends. Now when people search for a specific person, Bing provides a more in-depth bio snapshot, such as location, education and employment details, to help them find the person they?re looking for more quickly.
- Friends who live here. Traveling to a new city and looking for recommendations on where to eat or stay? Easily find and consult friends who live or have lived near a destination.
- Flight Deals. Perhaps the best conversation is one that helps save money. Flight Deals will automatically send people airfare deals via Facebook for cities they have liked, enabling them to find out about the latest deals.
- Shared shopping lists. For shopping purchases, easily build, share and discuss shopping lists with friends, getting them to weigh in on purchases ? before buying.
Bing's changes are the latest step in a search alliance Microsoft and Facebook announced seven months ago in a joint challenge to Google. Both Microsoft and Facebook are trying to lure traffic away from Google, the Internet's most profitable company, so they can make more money selling Internet ads.
Google has also been trying to add more personal touches as Web surfers have bonded together on Facebook and other websites such as Twitter where they share photos, recommendations and other insights.
Facebook has erected barriers that prevent Google's search engine from indexing all the information on a social network.
Last week, Facebook admitted that it had secretly hired a prominent public relations firm to persuade reporters and bloggers to write stories about Google's privacy problems.
And of course, Microsoft and Facebook also have financial ties, as Microsoft owns a 1.6 percent stake in the popular social networking site.
Microsoft also has teamed up with Yahoo in its quest to topple Google. Since last summer, Microsoft's technology has been powering Yahoo's search results.