The Social Side of Bing
I’m writing this post today to simply take a step back and take a look at some features of a search results page from Bing. Yes, that little Microsoft funded search engine with 16% of the search volume on the web, compared to Google’s 65%. We’ve taken note of the socially integrated search results in Collin’s Bing prediction back in January and the sentiment of Bing making some rather big moves has really taken wing and expanded beyond our initial observations. I’m going to make some Bing observations and compare them to the results you see in Google. No, this is not “Bing it on”, just a recap of some of the progress the search engine has made.
I’m going to base my observations on name or celebrity related searches. Bing has a Universal search box on the right, much like Google; which highlights aspects of the topic at hand by use of rich content. This gives users quick access to the things they might be looking for, revolving around this person. Let’s take an example, oh I don’t know, say John Fogerty. Why? Because he’s awesome.
Social Media Icons
You’ll notice in the Bing results, the Universal box has a few things that Google Doesn’t. Quick links to the celebrity’s social media pages including Facebook and Twitter as well as Klout Score! This is unique to Bing, and understandably so. Google would much prefer to show their own social network Google+ if anything (which I don’t see for JF or Taylor Swift, the control in my experiments). I find this to be very interesting as it offers quick links to social profiles the celeb is already using in an icon fashion similar to what you’d see on a company website. Klout score is just a really nifty addition as well, giving you insight into the person’s social influence at a glance.
Social Results Content
Next you’ll see your personal social results for the topic in the far right, 3rd column of the page. This should be results from your friends on both Facebook and Twitter, giving you a drastically different option for search without having to go to another search engine. I personally like this feature, with the concept being to take a friend’s recommendation on products, services and other items. Unfortunately, I’m not entirely convinced in it’s ability to do just that, not yet anyway. I can’t quite see myself actually using this column for recommendations until it found a way to really deliver friend recommendations for items and not just results of a comment search.
Trending on Twitter & Facebook Results
On our John Fogerty results page, I noticed two little arrows next to two different search results. These indicate “Trending on Twitter” (or facebook). This is really reminiscent of when Google had a direct feed from twitter in the Twitter Firehose. It’s not really the same as the Bing results just give you a heads up on what results are trending rather than a live update of tweets.
You’ll notice that much of the above revolves around social. OK, all of it revolves around social. We get the picture, Bing really wants to get social. The nice thing I find about this is the integration with existing networks which I think seems very unusual considering Microsoft’s history of proprietary systems. It seems those tables have turned as Google will undoubtedly refuse other social networks in results to make way for Google+ results integration. Further, taking a step back and examining the result page as a whole, I think Bing does a bang up job of creating a very complete “home” with all of the options on the table. Google does this too, but the extra social aspect seems to tie it up nicely. All in all, I’m really interested to see where else this progression will take us.