Can Bing Take on Google With These New Features?

By: Chris Crum - December 17, 2010

Bing introduced a handful of new features. The one that will likely catch the most interest is the extension of its recent announcement regarding Facebook. Now, Bing will start showing you which of your Facebook friends have liked search results as they appear in your searches. 

Are "likes" from your friends sprinkled into search results enough to get you to use Bing? Let us know.

Social (Facebook)

"Starting today, if your search results include a specific link that has also been ‘liked’ by someone in your Facebook network the link will be highlighted as ‘Liked’ within Bing," Microsoft’s Bing team explains. "This gets especially interesting for a query like ‘Xbox’ where my friend ‘Liked’ the ‘Kinect’ site and while our algorithms didn’t feel it was relevant enough to make it the ‘answer’ we reference above, we are still able to indicate that my friend liked that link that happened to show up within the results."

This will be one clear advantage that Bing has over Google in terms of regular web search. Google has done a lot involving delivering social results, but Facebook data are THE social results that matter most – at least as long as Facebook is the dominant social site that it is today. With people constantly "liking" content all over the web, this can be a great indicator of relevance on a personalized level. It’s going to catch your attention when you notice your friend appear in the search results. 

Facebook Like information on Bing results

Bing has been running a similar feature in search results for several weeks, including likes from places like CitySearch, but there should be a much more broad set of potential results that will include "like" info now. It appears the feature may still be rolling out, so if you don’t see the "liked" results, you’re not the only one. I do get a message about it when I search with Bing, but after some testing, I’m clearly not getting these results. 

For example, as illustrated by Bing here, I should see when my friend has "liked" a movie on IMDB underneath the IMDB result for that movie on Bing. I have tested this with a specific movie that I made sure one of my friends had "liked" and that "like" did not appear under the result. 

Sports Tickets

Bing has also added sports ticket info from FanSnap directly into the search experience, so users can view ticket results from 57 ticket companies, see ticket selection and price ranges, find the best ticket prices, and access a "view-from-seat" feature. 

Bing Ticket Info

Image Search

Bing has also made changes to how it presents and organizes image search results. "The first thing you will notice is our new Instant Answer that organizes a rich collage of images directly into the main results page," Bing explains. "Once you click through to the ‘images’ page you will notice that we’ve populated the tabs with the most common search queries associated with a given image."

"Instead of making you qualify that you’re looking for (Casablanca, Morocco or Casablanca, the movie), we have organized the tabs so that one simple click gets you to what you’re looking for," Bing adds.

Bing Image Organization


For local search, Bing has added interior views, enhanced OpenTable integration for restaurants, real-time transit and Streetside for Mobile. Bing has partnered with EveryScape Eats, which provides imagery of restaurant interiors. These can be accessed by clicking "step inside" on Bing Local details pages (it utilzes Microsoft’s Silverlight). For now, it includes about 5,000 restaurants, mostly in Boston, but the company will add locations and cities over time. We’ll see if they expand beyond restaurants. Google has already been experimenting with taking pictures inside businesses. 

Additionally, Bing users can access local details pages for restaurants that are signed up with OpenTable and search for available reservations from Bing itself. 

Bing Utilizes OpenTable

Bing Mobile on the iPhone now has "up-to-the-minute" data for transit agencies (in Seattle, Boston, and San Francisco so far), and Streetside – Bing’s eqivalent of Google’s Streetview is available on Bing Mobile now.  Bing has also made adjustments to its map style and a bunch of other updates to its iPhone and Andriod apps.

Will This All Help Bing Increase Its Market Share?

As we’ve discussed in the past, Bing has a lot of things that could work in its favor in terms of helping it grow its search market share, and some of these new features (namely the Facebook likes) won’t hurt. The company also introduced some Facebook sharing features for Shopping Search a couple weeks ago.

Will the new features help Bing grow its market share? Tell us what you think.

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

View all posts by Chris Crum
  • vybixa

    Taking on Google with these new features they certainly have. With the Yahoo mix, certainly, Bing now can have a shot at google on the search front. Now what is left is to see whether searchers switch in droves to Bing (which they should) and whether the search results (with their new razmataz) are relevant indeed.

    • Chris Crum

      That relevance is a question. Sometimes Bing has shown some good concepts that haven’t necessarily lived up to their potential in terms of execution. The recently launched artist pages for example.

      • CHt

        If you care about Bing’s failures, maybe you outta check in to how many times Google has launched a new application and failed miserably. Google owns the failed-app category. It has a terrible track record of launching successful apps and features. When’s the last time anyone cared anything about Google Wave, Google SearchWiki, Google Audio Ads, Google Video, Dodgeball, Jaiku, Google Notebook, Google Catalogs, Google Print Ads, Google Page Creator, Google Answers, Google Buzz, Google Sidewiki, Google Knol, Orkut, Google X, Google Web Accelerator, Google Coupons, Google Voice Search, Google Viewer, Google Checkout…..

  • 2manproductions

    I don’t think Bing’s new like feature will be enough for searchers to switch to bing. In order to compete with Google, it will take an incentive based experience for searchers. Example something like coupons or discounts offer by Bing or Yahoo for using their search engine. Google has the most content so it’s hard to overcome that but you can offer incentives that will help the searcher save money! That will always work!

    • Chris Crum

      Well, they’ve done the cashback thing in the past.

  • Guest

    I use Google as a Tool for business and while we are represented in Facebook
    I cannot see any business benefits to the new Bing features. As all the Search Engines
    rely on Trade advertizing, more social content of the facebook kind will reduce
    the value of this medium. I feel Google should stick to fast relevant search results
    and it will retain its faithfull followers and advertizers.

    • Chris Crum

      If you own a store that someone has “liked” on Facebook and that shows up in a Bing user’s search results, I can’t see that being a bad thing. Plus if the feature gets more people using Bing, it seems like more of a reason to advertise on Bing or increase advertising on Bing.

      • Big Pallet Store

        So, otherwords the more friends you have the higher the ranking you can achieve. Great for Facebook but disaster for Bing. If I have 2000 friends and asked them all to like my website, which they would just out of courtesy, and every one else did the same, it would come down to who has the most friends will land on top.

        Currently Bing’s results are rubbish and slow. I just finished a contract with a company and they had Bing as their homepage. 100% of the time I found myself having to switch to Google for relevant results. It was a real pain. The only thing that I liked about Bing, initially, was the way you could recieve a sneak preview of the website before entering it. Now Google has this.

        I think the only thing that peeves me about Google is that it is where it is today because of Webmasters from all around the world who have supported it and promoted it building awareness and hype around the platform. Now Google has turned its back on these people with the introduction of Google Location Maps and the reduction of organic results on the first page.

        Google seems to have the attitude that they no longer need webmaster support anymore, only Google Adword Agents and soon to come Google Map Agents as I am sure they will sell these map links eventually to the highest bidder.

        As a user, not as a webmaster, I think Google is doing a great job to make it even easier for people to find what they are looking for and this is what Google is meant to be all about.

        I feel the Webmaster needs to have more power as a protectorate of the internet. My suggestion is maybe unionising webmasters globally would be the key to the stranglehold that Google has over us.

        It really has got to the stage where webmasters are obsolete to Google and their is not enough people using any other search platform for webmasters to jump ship.

        Unionised we can remove our websites all at the same time playing havoc with Google’s Relevance and then relaunch them when Google conforms to further support the webmaster. The removal would move all users straight to other platforms as Google would be full of dead links and only cached pages, goodbye Google.

        This is the only way that the people can get back control of the internet.

    • CHt

      The thing people don’t seem to understand is that you have to be logged into Facebook in order to see the Facebook integration in your Bing results. So its totally dependent on if you’re logged in or not. If you want your standard search results, don’t log into Facebook. Its that easy. Bing even gives you a quick sign-in link on their homepage to login AND logout of Facebook. Its super fast and I think it adds to Bing’s relevancy, if you choose to login. The bottom line is that its OPTIONAL, but nobody seems to care about that little fact.

  • Big Pallet Shop

    Big statement, I know. The reason why I say this is that I use Avast Professional and a lot of pages I visit in Facebook I am informed that there is a Malware Trojan. How much privacy do people want to give away? I am sure this will come back to haunt the user.

    The information that Facebook steals from us can be used to manipulate us in all areas of life without us even realising it. Is Goebbels the founder of Facebook?

  • SEO Bedford

    Bing’s new features are very interesting but I have my concerns for the simple fact that I might no “Like” what my friends like. Therefore I might search results that are not exactly what I’m looking for just because Bing thinks what my friends “like” is what I “Like”.

    To certain extent that is logical and I think it will help Bing gain more search market shared but then again nothing stops Google from implementing the same features anytime soon.

    • CHt

      You’re wrong about Google implementing Facebook integration into search. Microsoft has a small stake in Facebook and have formed a multi-year partnership with them. Mark Zuckerberg has publicly stated that Google is their main competition. You won’t see any Facebook integration in Google at the level of Bing any time soon, at least not with Facebook’s seal-of-approval.

      I think these new Bing upgrades are good. Bing has been slowly innovating since day 1, and Google is taking notice because they see Bing as a real threat. Yeah, Google still dominates search, but if Bing wasn’t doing something right why would Google change their website to be more Bing-like?

  • KamakshiSri

    Addition of new feature may help Bing but it cannot over take Google because google has vast content and Google’s results seem more relevant than bing. I have often found locating my searches more correctly on Google than Bing. Bing with Facebook also cannot over take Google.
    Well, Google can definitely do one thing better just to stick to its position that is offering fast and relevant results, though it seems likely that it is on its way to it with Google Instant and Googl;e Caffeine. Google’s index is already vast and its enlargement will definitely help to users to come back to it.

  • Zygella

    It is all about the relevance. Google has done very good job in this.

  • Guest

    I’d like to see Microsoft give Google stronger competition in the PPC advertising arena. AdWords is a necessary evil for many small businesses but is so expensive it can take a huge chunk out of their profits. If Microsoft adCenter grows in popularity after it’s merger with Yahoo Search Marketing maybe it will force Google to lower it’s prices for AdWords clicks.

  • Mark Demers

    As things progress it seems more people will be using the Like button just because their friends will see their likes.
    That`s enough if you`re one of the social mobile type . How prominently will likes be displayed in search results?
    To me it seems that Bing will take some customers away from Google or even others but not too many and only until Google follows suit..
    Don`t forget Google`s always thinking of,planning and releasing new features too!
    Google may lose a few now but i`m sure they`ll get them back at a later date.

    People i know say “What`s Bing” , sounds like a piece fell off something.(Bing,Bing,Boing).

  • Marc Goodman

    These all sound like great gimmicks to lure more visitors, but how about providing better search results?

    It’s funny how they try to make it more interactive, etc. But when I use a search engine, all i want is to get exactly what I’m looking for. Google is still unbeatable at that, and that won’t change with no fancy backgrounds, fancy “who likes this” or other gimmicky tactics. Bad results are just bad results no matter how you dress them up.