<< by on July 16th, 2012
Bing is working hard to compete with Google in social/search integration. Bing takes a slightly different approach however with “The New Bing” with three columns on the page. In this blog post, I will dive into the new Social Sidebar which is the dark grey column on the right of the Bing SERP.
In the sidebar, various social elements appear depending on how relevant Bing decides they are to you in search. The options are: Ask Friends, Friends Who Might Know, People Who Know, and Activity Feed.
The first option at the top, “Ask friends…”, allows you to shout out your question to all your Facebook friends. Note that this post will appear in the newsfeed, so not everyone may see it.
Friends who might know:
If you are signed into Bing, when you search, people you know on Facebook who may have insight about your search appear on the right. I just tried a search on the word “Australia” and three of my Facebook friends appeared as options. It was easy to see why they were suggested, as they all have spent time living in Australia. In addition to researching Australia within the search results, Bing has set it up so you can source people you know for advice.
When you hover over each friend listed, more information appears in a pop-up window to the side. My friend Kristen lives in Melbourne and likes Surf Camp Australia, which I’m fairly certain she went to when she was staying in Sydney. (I’m super jealous.)
Once I click on her name, Bing offers me a place to comment on Facebook through their interface. Bing indicates that Kristen will be notified on Facebook about this, so this would be a good place to ask her a question.
There is even the option to add up to 5 links from your search results.
When you ask someone a question, anyone who can see your Facebook Timeline will see the question. Your friend who you wanted to ask will get a message about the question, but none of their friends see it.
People who know:
People who know are “experts and enthusiasts who blog and post on Twitter and other social networks about the thing you’re looking for.” The best part about this section is that Bing is not solely working with Facebook to provide insights and sourcing for you to find more answers; they are mining blogs, Twitter and Google+ posts to provide you with resources that may actually benefit your search!
The downfall of Google Search plus Your World is the only social network that is integrated into search is Google+, and most of our friends are still focused on Facebook and Twitter, so there is less reliability at times on the Google social network.
People who know data is not personalized to you, so it will appear the same on all searches of the same query.
The Activity section includes posts that you and your friends have shared from Bing. Not many of my friends have shared much from Bing, so I wasn’t able to find content in this section at this time.
What are your recommendations?
I think it’s wonderful that Bing is working to integrate more social networks into a separate section of the SERP, rather than pushing them within the results. I wish, however, that brand pages would come up in the Social Sidebar. For instance, if I’m searching for Modern Family, why doesn’t their page show up in the sidebar? Google shows the Google+ Pages on the right, so I guess I’m used to that. What do you think about Bing’s changes? Please share your experiences and thoughts by commenting below or finding me @Lokitis or +Sarah Lokitis