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Wednesday, 13th October 2010

Announced Today: Bing Uses Facebook "Likes" to Enhance Results, Search Facebook Profiles, and More

There was an event at Microsoft today regarding Bing using and providing more access to Facebook data. Here's a look at today's announcements.

1. Bing Gets More Social with Facebook (via Bing Blog)

What's New/Other Issues

A. Enhancing Results with Facebook Likes

B. Facebook Profile Search

C. Privacy Issues

D. Personalized Results Coming Soon (With Video)

2. "New Signals in Search: The Bing Social Layer" (via Bing Blog)

The Bing social search mindset. An interesting post not only for web searchers but also for info pros.

Traditionally, search engines rely on a large number of clues to help us determine what you are looking for. We call these clues "signals." Search was built on a concept of these signals that told engines what was probabilistically the most likely piece of information you wanted based on the words you entered.

This has worked pretty well over the years and helped search improve a lot - early signals like meta tags to give the engines hints on page content and reverse IP to provide more locally relevant results, which has evolved to the mobile phone with the addition of geo-location data. Eventually the industry developed more complex signals like anchor text and popularity models to try and bring a human element into the mix. In Bing, we look at more than 1000 signals to try and get you the best result.

[Clip]

But the signals that engines have come to rely on to help you find what you're looking for are not really representative of those human connections and the role they play in making decisions in real life.

So we asked ourselves: what if we could make your friend's opinions visible to you in a simple way when you're searching? What if we could put that information at your fingertips and bring your trusted sources to the forefront for many of your searches? What if there was a "social layer" in search that could make the whole process of connecting to information and making decisions more social, more personal and more useful?

3. Examples of the New Bing/Facebook Features (With Examples and Screen Caps)

4. "Bing, Now With Extra Facebook: See What Your Friends Like & People Search Results" (by Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land)

Danny Sullivan brings all the info together with examples, screen caps, and analysis.

NOTE: If you are not seeing what Sullivan and others are writing about, the new features are rolling-out across the U.S. at this hour with more countries to come. Give it a day or two. Also, today's announcements are about NEW features. Some Facebook data (Twitter, too) has been available from Bing Social Search since June of this year.

At long last, Facebook’s social data is coming to search in a big way. Bing is now making use of it to show new “Liked By Your Friends” matches and Facebook-powered people search results. The move offers a huge amount of promise, and perhaps gives Bing a edge that Google can’t quickly replicate. But at the moment, this is no Google-killer. You might not even see the new features appear that often.

Like all Search Engine Land posts there are plenty of screen caps and examples. These points are worth special mention:

Outside the Liked Results, Facebook’s data is not being used to reshape the “regular” results, the listings found from crawling the web. Rather, traditional ranking factors such as the content on the pages and how people link to them is used — similar to what Google does.

(Side note: Google’s long claimed that over 200 factors are used to rank its search results. Today, Bing says it uses 1,000 signals. Expect Google’s claim to rise shortly).

You can now search for Facebook users with Bing.

Bing becomes the latest site to make use of Facebook Instant Personalization. That means if you’re logged into Facebook, when you arrive at Bing, you should see a message telling you that it is going to personalize your experience based on your Facebook profile. If you’re not seeing this yet, it’s still rolling out in the US today, then it will be coming to other counties i the coming months.

I’m happy to hear [so are we] from Bing that unlike with some other sites, Instant Personalization is opt-in, not opt-out, at Bing.

Much More in the Search Engine Land Article


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