Search is becoming social with the addition of new social features announced by Bing today. The “decision engine” from Microsoft says bringing together the power of search and Facebook, people can now receive personalized search results based on the opinions of their friends simply by signing in to Facebook. New features, available today, make it easy to see what people’s Facebook friends like across the Web, incorporate the collective IQ of the Web into their decision-making and conduct conversational searches.
Decisions now can be made not just with facts, but with the opinions of trusted friends and with the collective wisdom of the Web, resulting in smarter, faster decisions. Also available today is the new Bing Bar, which includes the first universal Like button, making it easy for people to like any page on the Web.
“The best decisions are not just fueled by facts, they require the opinions and emotions of your friends,” said Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president, Bing. “Search is now more than a fact finder — we’re marrying fact-based search results with your friends’ street smarts to combine the best data on the Web with the opinions of the people you trust the most and the collective IQ of the Web.”
According to a recent survey conducted by Bing and Impulse Research, 90 percent of people surveyed seek advice from family and friends before making decisions. This “friend effect” is apparent in a majority of decisions and often outweighs other facts because people feel more confident, smarter and safer with guidance from their trusted circle. Today’s search engines don’t solve for this phenomenon, and 80 percent of people surveyed said they will delay making a decision until they can get a friend’s stamp of approval. This decision delay, or the period of time it takes to hunt down a friend for advice, can last anywhere from minutes to days, whether a person is waiting for a call back, text, email or tweet.
The decision delay can be shortened by combining the technology of Bing with Facebook, to incorporate the friend effect into search. Bing now uses the interests shown by friends on Facebook to deliver a personalized search experience. With more than 30 billion pieces of content shared each month on Facebook alone, there is power in the collective know-how of the Web, and Bing is the first search engine to harness this information in a useful way.
How the Features Work
Microsoft data shows that nearly half of people surveyed say seeing their friends’ likes within search results could help them make better decisions, and who better than a group of trusted friends to guide everyday decision-making? The new features of Bing make this possible:
Liked results, answers and sites. Cut right to the good stuff, by seeing what stories, content and sites friends have liked right in the search results. Planning a trip to Napa Valley, for example, can be overwhelming with hundreds of wineries to choose from — luckily, the likes of friends can narrow the choices on which vineyards are must-sees.
Personalized results. Bing personalizes the search experience by surfacing content friends have liked from deep within search results to the top of the page. Because most people don’t go beyond page one of the results, they might be missing the best information. But it’s not just friends who can help out. There’s also value in the larger brain trust of the Web. Bing now brings the collective IQ of people to decision-making online when friends may not have the right expertise or a person may not know exactly what they’re looking for:
Popular sites. See collective like results related to trending topics, articles and Facebook fan pages to find the most popular content. When searching a recipe site, for example, see what articles on the site people have liked to help find the perfect recipe for dinner.
Social messages. Searchers also can benefit from knowing what major brands and companies are sharing on Facebook. For example, when planning a vacation and searching for a rental car, Bing will show recent Facebook posts alerting people to a new deal at the top of the results.
Many decisions require a discussion with friends. By combining Facebook’s communication tools with Bing, search can become conversational — taking decision-making on Bing from a passive experience to an active dialogue. The vision of Bing is to combine the power of discovery with the empowerment of conversation:
Expanded Facebook profile search. Sometimes people need a friend right away, and Bing now lets them hit the fast-forward button to the right Facebook friends. Now when people search for a specific person, Bing provides a more in-depth bio snapshot, such as location, education and employment details, to help them find the person they’re looking for more quickly.
Friends who live here. Traveling to a new city and looking for recommendations on where to eat or stay? Easily find and consult friends who live or have lived near a destination.
Flight Deals. Perhaps the best conversation is one that helps save money. Flight Deals will automatically send people airfare deals via Facebook for cities they have liked, enabling them to find out about the latest deals.
Shared shopping lists. For shopping purchases, easily build, share and discuss shopping lists with friends, getting them to weigh in on purchases — before buying.
More detailed information about the new features is available on the Bing blog.
The Bing Bar is available for download at http://toolbar.discoverbing.com/toolbar/en-us.html.
About the Survey
The survey was conducted online with a random sample of 1,043 men and women — all members of the Impulse Research proprietary online panel. The Impulse Research proprietary online panel has been carefully selected to closely match U.S. population demographics, and the respondents are representative of American men and women, ages 18 and older. Research was conducted in April 2011. The overall sampling error rate for this survey is +/- 3 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.