Microsoft has upped the ante in its bid to get its hands on as many of Google’s loyal user base as possible. On Thursday the 11th of May Microsoft announced that it would update its Bing search engine with a focus on integrating social into search. In a blog post announcing the update the guys at Bing described the move as the most
“Significant update to Bing since we launched three years ago. Over the coming weeks, we will be introducing a brand new way to search designed to help you take action and interact with friends and experts without compromising the core search experience.”
I think we can take for granted that part about “compromising the core search experience” is a definite dig at Google and how social media is playing such a significant part in how it places websites. Just to put things into perspective as of November 2011 Google held over 80% of the world’s overall searches while Bing came in second with just under 9%.
Bings Social Search and the Friend Factor
Bing’s social search update puts a heavy emphasis on the opinion of your friends and people within your social circle. Sound familiar? The Google+ +1 button acts as a recommendation so when you +1, for example, a local butchers people you’re connected to can see this recommendation on the Google search engine. Microsoft said this new focus on social is due to the fact that
“Getting things done often involves others, in fact 90% of those asked said they prefer to listen to their friends when making decisions. Whether it’s making a purchase, deciding on a vacation destination, choosing a great restaurant, or figuring out which movie to see this weekend, the new Bing focuses on bringing friends, experts and enthusiasts into your search experience through a dedicated social sidebar.”
The revamp will see a new sidebar introduced on the right hand side of the screen that appears each time you search for something. This means that the vast majority of social searches that used to appear directly within its search results will appear in a dedicated column on the right of the screen. One of the features that has a massive amount of potential is the ability to request help from your Facebook friends. This could be exactly what the search engine needs to differentiate itself from the competition. Microsoft stated that this feature allows you to
“Post a question to get help from your Facebook friends as you search. You can “tag” friends Bing suggests might know about the topic. In a few simple clicks you can share your search and your friends can reply to your question on either Facebook or Bing. Bing suggests friends on Facebook who might know about the topic – based on what they “like”, their Facebook profile information, or photos they have shared.”
The fun doesn’t stop there however. For your search queries that friends may not be able to help you with Bing helps you find influential figures that have posted blogs, tweeted or vlogged about the topic you searched. Pretty cool right? We love what Bing’s doing with social and even at a first glance you can be certain that it’s going to work incredibly well. There’s nothing wrong with some healthy competition as 9 times out of 10 it brings out the creativity of a business.
What do you think of Bings social search update? Will it influence Google users to move?