Microsoft put Bing in our Facebook! Or did Facebook put Facebook in our Bing? On Thursday, Microsoft introduced an update to their Bing search engine that expands social sidebar results to include more content from a user’s Facebook stream.
Prior to the update, Bing could only match a search term against the liked topics, photos and profile information of a user's group of Facebook friends in addition to less personalized results from networks such as Twitter and Google+. With the new update, Bing now taps into the lifeblood of Facebook: status updates, shared links, and comments. We connected our account with Bing and searched for the word “climbing”, a popular activity in our social circle. The sidebar returned several results from friends posting about rock climbing trips, though the search also included a friend’s announcement that his Kickstarter page was “climbing” towards completion. Searching for “Las Vegas” returned check-ins, news stories, and photos posted by people in our Facebook friend network, some from as far back as October 2011.
This update comes shortly after Facebook announced Graph Search, a search engine within Facebook that will allow users to search for keywords and topics in their network’s shared content. Bing web search results will be included in Graph Searches for terms that don’t return results from within Facebook. It will be interesting to see if this symbiotic relationship between Bing and Facebook helps in Microsoft's long-thwarted quest to pull people's home page bookmarks away from Google search.