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Bing bets farm on social search


Bing hopes Facebook integration will increase the relevance of its search results.

In a press release entitled Bing Now Helps You Make Decisions With Your Facebook Friends, and elaborated on in the Bing blog article Facebook Friends Now Fueling Faster Decisions on Bing, Microsoft's 'decision engine' Bing now has the world's largest social network welded to it.

Search engines have come under fire of late due to their inability to provide relevant search results. Google in particular has been hit by spam, which Marco Arment said makes using the search engine like "asking a question in a crowded flea market of hungry, desperate, sleazy salesmen who all claim to have the answer to every question you ask,” despite none having any actual information for you. Google's subsequent attempts to tighten its algorithms have been mixed, sometimes downranking sites like BMJ, PR Newswire and Cult of Mac.

Microsoft's attempt to stay relevant instead rely on the world's biggest social network. After connecting to Facebook (which at the time of writing can only be done if your territory in Bing was set to United States), a number of changes to search results are apparent. Liked articles (and liked content within sites) are flagged, and liked sites are surfaced rather than prioritisation depending on more global algorithms. Additionally, 'conversational search' provides dialogue within results, such as sharing shopping lists and assisting with travel.

Whether Facebook integration will boost Bing's fortunes remains to be seen; while it's chipping away at Google's market-share, Bing still only accounts for 30 per cent of US searches, compared to Google's 65 per cent.