Facebook and Bing Connect for a More Social Search

Yesterday Microsoft and Facebook announced that Microsoft is rolling out new features that will bring your Facebook ‘experience’ into Bing, their search engine. Could this mean that more people, particularly Facebook ‘power users’ may choose to use Bing over Google, currently the most popular search engine?

The new features include:
– “Facebook Profile Search” showing results from Facebook when you search on a name

– “Liked Results” Bing will include results based on things your Facebook Friends ‘liked’

– You can change your Bing settings so that these features aren’t shown in your results

and you can change your Facebook settings so that “You can prevent Bing from getting any info about you.”

Google has been the most popular search engine by far for a number of years now, mainly because they do search so well. Some of their other products have taken off and become popular: Gmail, Chrome to an extent, and of course the Android mobile phone OS; but many of their other products have not done so well: Blogger is by far inferior to WordPress, Google Docs is far from displacing MS Office and Wave was a massive failure. Many people remain faithful regardless.
If the press coverage of the new Bing features carries on, and Facebook users start to go to Bing and find the integration very useful, this could mean a migration away from Google.
I think that if Facebook were to embed Bing search into it’s interface it would make a greater impact, because it would then be right ‘in the face’ of the 500+ million Facebook users who would then get used to using Bing from an interface that they are very comfortable with.
Will Google be making another move to counteract this new development at Bing? Will they be bringing more personalised Twitter results into its search results? The recent development of Instant Search doesn’t quite pack the punch of Bing’s new features. Google has tried to include more personalised results by showing comments and starred results from your community of Google friends, but this community never really took off. I only have a couple of Google connections that show up in my search results, but I have hundreds of Facebook friends.
According to Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land, “Potentially, Google should be able to get all the same information that Bing gets.” (http://searchengineland.com/bing-now-with-extra-facebook-see-what-your-friends-like-52848). So maybe Google will work on breaking the barriers that Facebook has set up to this and start to include such information themselves.
This development may drive more site owners to include ‘Like’ buttons on their sites and for more Facebook users to click ‘Like’ buttons. That raises another question: Are the majority of these ‘Likes’ because someone does actually like the site/post or because they know the owner/author or have we just gone ‘Like’ happy clicking away at all the ‘Like’ buttons we see? Will this development bring quality to Bing searches or bring the quality down more?
I still think Google is a better search engine but I may be using Bing more, especially for results where I think that a Friend’s opinion is important (ie “restaurants in Cork Ireland”), but maybe not for searches for pure information (ie “who was Henry VIII’s last wife”). For searches like that latter it’s unlikely there will be many sites that Friends have ‘liked’ anyway.
Google Places (aka Google Local Business, Google Maps) have brought a lot to search in that people can find businesses that are in a specific location and then see reviews from a wider audience. In Ireland, this is still in its infancy as there are still issues with results shown and a low number of businesses submitting to the service; but in the US it’s a very popular search feature.
Is there room in my life for two search engines? One for personalised searches and one for everything else?
See more about this from Bing:
– Bing’s Overview of the new features http://www.discoverbing.com/facebook/
More about this from the Social Media/Search Engine journalists:
What do you think? Do you use Bing already? Will you be using Bing more now? Are personalised searches important to you? Please post your comments below.