Microsoft Adds Facebook-Style Social Search to Bing

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has made significant changes to its Bing search engine, incorporating certain aspects of Facebook and Twitter to make its product a better social search platform.

The company promises several improvements to the site layout, including features that offer users the ability to exchange ideas and share opinions. Microsoft likens this concept to bouncing ideas off a trusted friend.

Facebook to Help Validate, Speed-Up Search

According to the Bing community search blog, a recently conducted internal poll found that 75 per cent of respondents spend more time searching online for information than they would like to.

This finding, coupled with Microsoft's $240 million investment back in 2007 for a 1.6 per cent stake in Facebook, was apparently the driving force behind the decision to give Bing its major overhaul.

Now when users search on Bing, their results include content related to their query, plus links to sites their friends have visited and to friends who might know about the topic.

"Most things in life are better with people you trust," Microsoft said in a recent release. (Source:

Snapshot: All-in-One Destination

Specifically, the changes include a new center column on the results page (called a "snapshot") which includes information such as maps and reviews.

The newly included data allows an individual to do such things as make local reservations, and view trailers of movies playing in nearby cinemas -- all based on the information in their search results, and all from one central page.

It is common knowledge that Microsoft has been working hard to increase its share of the search market, currently  dominated by Google.

In fact, it was Google that first incorporated posts from its social network Google+ into its search results earlier in the year, based on a belief that people value help from their friends and family. (Source:

Bing has made several attempts in the past to stand out from other search engines. This new set of changes may be another part of that effort.

Some observers think that a fruitful partnership with Facebook and adopting that network's mission of making the Internet a more social place, just might pay off for Bing in the long run.

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