Thanks to Facebook, Bing Will Give You Search Results Based on Your Friends

The search engine will now be able to "consult the tastes" of your near and dear

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At a recent Silicon Valley event, Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft's Qi Liu unveiled new features that allow the search engine Bing to deliver personalized results based on information gleaned from users' Facebook pages. The move capitalizes on Google's repeated failure to create a social platform to rival the 500 million+ users that call Facebook their social-networking home. "What makes Microsoft exciting for us is that they are the underdog," said Zuckerberg. Tech observers parse the implications of the announcement:

  • Here's How It Works  PC World's Mark Sullivan describes Bing's new features: "If you're looking online for a movie to watch, just searching "new movies" seldom delivers a movie you'll actually want to see. Using "instant personalization" features from Facebook, Bing will now be able to consult the tastes of your friends on Facebook to deliver a search result containing movies you are more likely to enjoy. The new functionality in Bing will be turned on Wednesday, Microsoft says."
  • It Could Making Searching Better, explains Erick Schonfeld at Tech Crunch. "Along with adding Facebook likes into search results, Bing is also using Facebook data to do better people search. When you start looking for a person, Bing will analyze the people you know and the people they know through Facebook and return those who are most closely linked to you socially. Microsoft’s Yusuf Mehdi says that 4 percent of searches are people search, but results are only satisfying 20 percent of the time. He hopes Facebook can improve on that."
  • Only the Latest Move in a 'Deep Partnership,' notes Tom Krazit at CNET News. The relationship was "consummated back in 2007 when Microsoft invested $240 million into the company. Bing powers the search results for queries on, Microsoft has sold ads on Facebook in the past, and Bing Maps is the default mapping software for Facebook Places.Why Microsoft and Bing, which trails Google by a huge margin in search market share? Zuckerberg said he'd rather bet on the hungrier company."
  • Right Now, It's Only 'Broad and Conceptual' observes Gizmodo's Brian Barrett. "You'll be able to execute name searches of non-famous people more efficiently, and product searches will be guided in part by what your friends like....There's no more powerful partner in social search than Facebook and its 500 million users, and no question that for specific types of searches this gives Bing a solid upper hand. But is it enough to make you abandon Google's warm embrace? Depends on how active your friends are—and how much you trust their opinions."
  • The Future 'Gets Even More Interesting' writes Mashable's Adam Ostrow. "At face value, Facebook integration certainly seems to make Bing search better in some instances. I know I’d be more inclined to click on a link in search results if one of my friends had liked it. Does that make me more likely to use Bing over Google? Not necessarily, though for the examples offered –- where opinion matters –- Bing's 'decision engine' differentiator starts to make a lot more sense."
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