What Do Your Friends Know?

Post by Alex Acero

Bing Reinvents Social Search and Discovery.

Just last month Microsoft’s Bing search engine began offering search results that are enhanced with social media. As of May 10th, the right-hand column of its webpage can now be filled with a “What Your Friends May Know” social sidebar. It still only works with Facebook, but is intended to eventually incorporate Twitter, Quora (a question and answer site), LinkedIn, and even Google+. It was surprising that Google would ever agree to allow the use of Google+ given the nature of its rivalry with Bing, but it seems Microsoft intends to incorporate it as much as possible. Also kind of surprising was that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is reportedly happy with the project even though other social networks will be thrown in the mix. Worth noting is that earlier this year, Google actually launched something similar called “Search Plus Your World” which integrates Google+ (ignoring Facebook and Twitter) with its own search engine.

In order to use the new Bing social pane, the Bing App has to be installed via your Facebook. Once it’s in use, not only would you instantly see what your friends might know (or “like”) about what you’re searching for, the pane would also display topic “experts” who might be able to assist with your search. Your search would not be shared unless you actually post it to Facebook via the Bing pane.

Microsoft identifies four key areas where this type of search would be most beneficial: Restaurants, Hotels, Movies and Events, and People. Search results will include action items like restaurant and hotel reservations, and with People, Bing will search multiple social networks to help find who you’re looking for.

With its new approach, does Bing see a real chance of surpassing Google to become the new Number 1 search engine? Or is Google making strong enough strides with its relatively new “Search Plus Your World” and its even newer “Knowledge Graph” to retain its position? Perhaps Google will eventually forfeit its losing battle with Facebook and decide to partner with it and other social networks to stay Number 1…?

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4 thoughts on “What Do Your Friends Know?

  1. So Bing’s new “What Your Friends May Know” tool uses a multitude of social platforms to pull information related to your search while Google’s “Search Plus Your World” tool only finds information through Google+? If that’s the case, then it sounds like Bing may deliver better results in this area of search capability.

    However, I still don’t know anyone who seriously uses Bing. Perhaps Bing will take the shape of Yahoo! for specialized content rather than the general yet dependable “go to” search engine. For example, Yahoo! Finance remains very popular and is regarded as the standard for easily accessable and free financial data. Bing may become the leader for social media-infused search results, but it will unlikely dominate over Google (at least in the short term).

  2. I could see Google supporting this if only to boost some interest in Bing and keep a competitor afloat. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have Google find some use for Google+.

  3. I do not know enough about Google plus and Bling to comment on that, however the video was very interesting and cool. I learned a new way of looking things up on the web, versus only going to google and typing in key words. Thanks for the Bling video, I will try it out.

  4. I think this is a brilliant evolution of search. But it also feels a bit invasive. A big problem with pure internet research is the difficulty in gauging its reliability. What could be better than a quick trusted reference? However, I am not comfortable showing up in marginally random people’s (i.e., facebook friends’) search results. I may not want all the calls, or at least not from certain people. I think there should be some time of opt-in and it should be a-la carte.

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