Bing steps up challenge to Google with new 'social search' feature

Microsoft is rolling out an update to Bing that brings in results from users' Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn data, in a bid to challenge Google's new social search service.

The internet and tech giant is rolling out redesign of the Bing homepage which introduces a social sidebar, incorporating results from a user’s social network contacts, while maintaining the natural search function.

It also introduces an ‘Ask a Friend’ feature which enables users to pose questions to their friends on social networks as it taps into the growing trend of social recommendations.

The redesign is rolling out in the next few weeks in the US but Microsoft has not confirmed when it will be reaching the UK.

It is attempting a direct challenge to Google’s new 'Search plus your world’ feature. This courted controversy when it began rolling out in the US in March, because many claimed it pushed Google+ results higher in search rankings at the expense of other social networks.

At the time Twitter claimed it was "a bad day for the internet".

Google’s move prompted engineers from Facebook, Myspace and Twitter to club together to create a tool called "Don’t be Evil" to show internet users in the US how Google search results would look, if the "Search plus your world" feature was reversed.

Writing on the company blog, the Bing team said: "Recent attempts at social search haven’t unlocked the full potential of tapping our social networks."

"And the reason is pretty simple - social in search hasn’t mirrored how people do things in real life," it wrote.

The team also revealed results from its tests claiming that when it removed any trace of Google and Bing branding in January of last year 34% people preferred Bing, while 38% preferred Google.

However it claims the study conducted on the new versions of the search engine shows that  43% prefer Bing results while only 28% prefer Google results.

Google still dwarfs Bing in the UK, with an 88.9% market share of searches conducted, compared to Bing’s 4%, according to comScore data for March 2012.

Bing has a bigger market share in the US, at 14.5% market share, while Google still has the majority, at 67.8% for the same period, according to comScore.

This is not Bing’s first foray into social search. In October 2011 it tied up with Facebook in the US allowing it to show images of the friends of a user who have liked an item on Facebook in its search listings.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message