Bing Leverages Facebook 'Like' to Beat Google in Social Search

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-??í-vis Facebook's ubiquitous Like button. In the just-fortified friendship 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 also 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.