Microsoft Corp. today rolled out an update to Bing which deepens the search tool’s integration with social networking site Facebook.
The makeover adds a new column to search results that features Facebook friends who may have some insight into the user’s query, according to a report from online tech publication cnet.com. For example, if a person is searching for places to eat out in Toronto, the sidebar will display a list of friends who may have shared comments about certain restaurants in the city or photos of a bar they recently visited in Toronto.
Bringing social networking to search has become something of a holy grail for the Web, reports cnet. “One problem with traditional search is that users often have a hard time figure out which sources are most trusted. Having friends guide them removes that uncertainty,” wrote the publication’s Jay Greene.
In a blog posted today, the Bing development team explained that the upgrade was inspired by the notion that people value their friends’ opinions.
“…research tells is that 90 per cent of people consult with a friends or expert before making a decision – whether it’s something as simple as which train to take you uptown or who is the best dentist in Boulder, other people are often the most trusted source of information,” the team wrote.
“Recent attempts at social search haven’t unlocked the full potential of tapping our social networks. And the reason is pretty simple – social in search hasn’t mirrored how people do things in real life,” they further explained.
Search giant Google is also into marrying search with social media. It’s social media platform Google+ is reported to be doing pretty well lately.
Microsoft hopes integrating more deeply with Facebook will generate more Bing searches as users initiate social media conversations linked to the original query.