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.
"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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.