Facebook, Bing Unveil Shared Social Search Sidebar

Dennis Faas's picture

An upcoming revamp of Microsoft's search engine Bing will allow users to pose queries on Facebook. It's the first visible partnership of its type between the two Internet companies.

The new tools will come in the form of a separate sidebar. As long as users are signed in to Facebook (meaning they must have an account), the sidebar will be active each time a Bing search is made.

Bing, Facebook Coordinate Search Results

Once users have typed in their query, the sidebar will come up with a list of Facebook friends that Bing believes may be able to help out. For example, if users search on a computing topic, the sidebar may list friends who have noted they work in the tech industry.

Users will then have the option to post the query on that person's Facebook wall. If and when the friend responds, it will appear on Facebook and in the Bing sidebar.

Microsoft: Facebook, Bing Privacy Maintained

According to Microsoft, there should be no privacy issues with the tools and says users will only be able to see details that Facebook friends have already made available. It says all the detail revealed in the Bing sidebar will be information users could see by directly visiting their Facebook profile. (Source: bing.com)

The sidebar will also list high-profile users of other social media sites, such as Twitter or LinkedIn, who have posted material relevant to a search. The sidebar will link to this material, but will also let users directly contact those people deemed most likely to help.

The addition of the Facebook tool is part of Microsoft's ongoing attempt to brand Bing as a "decision engine" rather than a tradition search engine. The theory is that wherever possible it shouldn't just point the user to a web page, but rather go further to help them answer a specific question. (Source: informationweek.com)

The new tools are also a response to Google's own attempts to make searching "more social" by including results taken from posts on its social networking service, Google+.

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