It seems Microsoft may be in for a much-delayed social media breakthrough with a more socially searchable Bing. Reaping some of the rewards of its recent partnership with Facebook, Bing’s search results will be featuring a searcher’s Facebook friends’ Likes and Shares. The people at Bing are describing the new search layers as “conversational,” and adding, in the words of Bing director, Stephan Weitz, that “it’s a first step in the evolution of how search can become more human.”
Bing is en route to “humanization” by way of special highlights in its results alerting searchers to social media friends’ recommendations that coincide with one’s latest topic of inquiry. For example, as Weitz was helpfully paraphrased in the New York Times, if someone searches for a website “like NYTimes.com or Cooks.com, Bing will” produce “news articles or recipes deep inside those sites that … friends have recommended.” Moreover, the folks over at Microsoft not being ones to forget the ever-growing importance of location-based sociability, they are also piling on Bing a feature that will make note of which of a searcher’s friends live in a given city or other locale if it’s a destination being searched for. Microsoft may be, indeed, gaining some steam.