Microsoft's Bing search engine is relying heavily on Facebook to ramp up its social search capabilities, but are people ready to intertwine social and search?
Microsoft Bing's deepened integration with Facebook is
more of an effort to push users to where its believes search is going rather
than where it actually is today.
Call it wish fulfillment vis-??Ã-vis Facebook's ubiquitous
Like button. In the
with Facebook, Bing is surfacing in search results which
Websites users' friends Liked.
Bing director Stefan Weitz told eWEEK those Websites will
bubble to the top of search results. For example, friends who have "Liked"
a recipe will have those Webpages surfaced in search results.
Bing will also retrieve information about users from Facebook
on the search-results page, and even let users post Bing Shopping recommendations
on their Facebook wall.
Moreover, the all-important Bing Bar
includes a universal "Like" button to let users tag any Website they
prefer. RockMelt, it should be noted, has already taken a similar approach
for its Web browser.
All of these Facebook integration perks are geared to
give users personalized search results based on the opinions of their friends.
What this means, opined
Duane Forrester, senior product manager with Bing's Webmaster Program, is that
decisions can now be made not just with facts, but with the opinions of trusted
friends. Forrester added:
"By integrating social signals from the social
sphere, we can help guide searchers to the best results. If people feel
something is worth calling out socially as "the best," it's obvious
hearing their opinions at the time someone is scanning for search results can
have an impact on click choices made by that individual searcher.
Sounds fantastic in theory, right? A veritable Reese's peanut butter cup made of social and search.
Unfortunately for Microsoft and rival Google, which also wants to
insert social into search, there is no compelling evidence that the
majority of people who search want
to rely on the wisdom (or lack thereof, as it were) of their friends
for most of their searches.