Bing Shopping Tool Connects Users to Facebook, Twitter for Feedback

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-05-10

In the latest example of how Microsoft is trying to differentiate from Google in search, the Bing team May 6 added buttons that let shopper solicit product feedback from their friends on Facebook and Twitter with a single click.

eWEEK tested the feature on a search for a "John Deere Lawnmower" because, well, it's that time of year. The search pulled up these results.

While there are plenty of reviews to read and ratings to glean, some users may want to cull comments and suggestions from their friends about products. Clicking on the "view price" section under any search result calls up the product with the option to share that item on Facebook, Twitter or plain old e-mail.

Users clicking the Facebook or Twitter button will be taken immediately to those social networks, where they may post about the items they want to request feedback about from their friends and contacts.

"With a single click you can ask for advice from your friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter for their take on a product you saw on Bing Shopping," wrote Lawrence Lam, program manager for Bing Shopping.

"You can even share it the old fashioned way-over e-mail! We see our users using it not only to get feedback on price but on whether a particular product would look good on them, has a better model, etc."

The Bing team also clearly envisions this effort as a shopping comparison tool. Lam noted that a shopper can search Bing Shopping for the HTC HD2 smartphone, for example, and ask friends on Facebook and Twitter whether the site is listing the best price after Bing Cashback or if they should keep searching

eWEEK tested the "John Deere Lawnmower" search on Google's own Product Search, and it was clear that while users can read views and compare prices just as they can on Bing Shopping, they cannot launch search results to Facebook or Twitter to share them with friends.

Both Bing and Google have placed a greater emphasis on injection social search capabilities into their respective search engines.

Facebook and Twitter boast more than 500 million users combined, so Bing and Google are wise to be the middlemen for these leading social sites.

As long as users continue to come to Bing or Google to search for products, users will continue to see ads, helping those search engines make money.

Conversely, if users begin to rely more on their Facebook and Twitter connections for information about these things, the tide will shift to the social sites, which will make bank from social ads.

Neither Bing nor Google can afford to be cut out of this action.

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