Deigning to undercut Google's Social Search upgrade, Microsoft's Bing team released a Bing Bar that integrates the Facebook news feed, messages, alerts and notifications,
Google's upgrade of its Social Search feature was quickly outdone by
Microsoft Bing, which released a revamped Bing Bar with deeper integration with
to begin mixing its Social Search results
throughout results pages based on their relevance, raising content from the
dark pit of the bottom of results pages. Google also is improving content
relevance by gauging how much links and videos have been shared by users'
These are moves that should have been made when Google launched Social
Search more than a year ago, but the search engine erred on the side of caution
because it feared cluttering users' results with social links.
Google Social Search aggregates users' content from Twitter, Flickr, Google
Buzz, YouTube, Flickr and Quora, but not leading social site Facebook.
While the change was a positive, Microsoft's Bing team nudged it aside a few
hours later by unveiling
Bing Bar 7, which continues the company's integration
with Facebook by providing users with access to their Facebook content without
whisking them away from Bing to the social network.
Users have easy access
to their Facebook news feed to see posts from
friends and update their status. Users may also comment on or Like a friend's
post right from the Bing Bar. Facebook friend requests, messages and
notifications are also surfaced in the Bing Bar. In many ways, the upgrades
mirror what RockMelt has done
with its social Web browser.
Bing's message to Google with this move is: People don't want social search
done by the search engines who lack organic social networks. They want to
access what they and their friends are familiar with. That would be Facebook,
which boasts more than 600 million users.
Google's efforts are well-intentioned, both from a business and consumer
standpoint. Google co-founder Sergey Brin described
Google's social efforts last month as being in their
infancy, admitting that Google has only "touched 1 percent" of what
social can lend to search.
There are whispers that the new Social Search upgrade is laying a foundation
for the Google +1 social efforts expected to come later this year, providing a
more detailed infusion of social layers across Google's Web services.
Viewed in this context, the Google Social Search may be a preparatory move,
agreed industry analyst Greg Sterling, who said it's "consistent with
Google's broader movement to integrate social across its properties and raise its
'social profile,' so to speak."
Yet IDC analyst Hadley Reynolds told eWEEK
he views the Google Social Search overture as a catch-up play, not a new
breakthrough in Google's social strategy or in social options for Google users.
"On the other hand, both Bing and Google have yet to prove that people
will find the social features in search attractive enough to spend more time in
the search environments," Reynolds said.
"The end game for the search engines is to stop the growth in the hours
people spend on social sites, particularly Facebook and Twitter, and get them
back to the search box. So far, I don't see that that is happening."