Bing Brings Friend Effect to Facebook

With the addition of new social features to Bing search engine, Microsoft believes people can receive personalized search results based on the opinions of their friends by signing into Facebook.

New features 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, says the company.

A new Bing Bar includes a universal Like button, making it easy for people to like any page on the Web.

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“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.

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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.

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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, 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, claims Microsoft.

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 Bing Bar is available for download at http://toolbar.discoverbing.com/toolbar/en-us.html.

RMN News

Rakesh Raman