Microsoft engineers teamed up with Facebook developers, once again to make Bing search results more social. This new social search service was announced just a week age. Since then, it could only be a matter of time before Google did something similar. Predictably, Google has just introduced social enhancements to their search service.
When Bing made their announcement, Satya Nadella, the Senior VP of Online Services, informed users that their search results would be enhanced by the ‘Like’ feature on Facebook.
In other words, when users conduct a search on Bing, they will be able to see which of their Facebook friends has ‘Liked’ the product or service being searched. Results that were ‘Liked’ by these friends will also be placed at the top of the search results page as they are likely to have more value for that user.
Thus, certain search results on Bing will now be personalised for individual users. This Facebook ‘Likes’ feature will be active only when the user has signed in to a Facebook account.
Another feature which Bing has also introduced, in conjunction with Facebook, is the ability to search more easily for people. Bing will now make it possible for users to search people by name and will bring up results from Facebook that are more likely to be the searcher’s friends. Users will then be able to add that person as a friend, or send the person a message directly from the Bing search results page.
Google’s newly integrated social search feature shows users conducting a search on Google for certain trending topics an indication of the pages popularity by including the number of times the page has been shared next to the page’s title in the search results. This social shares link, however, appears only on the main search results page and not in Google News.
When users clicks on the ‘shared by’ link they are taken to the Google real time search results page for that link, which will show the real-time sharing activity for that particular page.
Unlike the Bing feature, this is a general sharing feature and it does not specify who has shared the article. It also does not give the user any specific information from friends whose opinion the user is more likely to rely on.
Bing is gradually rolling out the social search feature, and will currently limit the roll out to users in the USA only. Google’s feature is already live in the USA and UK.
Why Google’s latest social search feature doesn’t tie-in better with their social graph and show shares from contacts within a user’s social circle is not clear. Even with social graph integration, Google’s offering would rate second-class, at best, as Microsoft has a very big advantage here owing to their relationship with Facebook.