On Wednesday, Bing announced, via the Bing Search blog, a new feature that continues Bing’s push of features to integrate social networks into search results. Back in October, Bing introduced a partnership with Facebook that displayed Facebook profiles if a search result was for a person, and indicated something was “liked” by Facebook users’ friends if it was directly related to the search term. Today, Bing unveiled a new part of their algorithim: the inclusion of similar things users’ friends’ “like” related to the search phrase, as part of search results. Bing uses the example that a user may see a friend “like” Kinect in the search results for the term “xbox.”
Bing users shouldn’t depend on seeing a full list of the entirety of friends’ likes and suggestions via Bing based on this new algorithm. While I know that several of my friends “like” the Seattle Seahawks (let’s not talk about it), a search for “Seattle Football” did not yield any suggestions from Bing that my friends “like” the Seattle Seahawks (or Sounders – the local soccer team, for that matter). Bing still includes exact “likes” as a search result for exact phrases that match that interest, such as when I search for “Chris Pirillo” and see that a mutual friend has recently “liked” one of his posts. However, Bing missed a huge opportunity to tell me that a large portion of my friends liked the local football team, which is definitely indicative that the new algorithm is missing something.
Bing does a good job of having clear privacy options for the Like-based search results since these settings utilize Facebook Connect. If you have never used Bing before, you are alerted with an obvious popup in the top right corner of the Bing search engine introducing you to Bing. The preferences tab is clear, with obvious privacy settings therein. If you so choose, It is incredibly easy to disconnect Bing from Facebook.
Will social search give Bing a leg up on Google? Or is Bing still lagging in the results?