Bing has launched "Linked Pages," which allow people to link sites related to themselves in search results for when people search for the person's name.
Pretty interesting, especially since Bing allows users to simply add links that they just like.
"Search for yourself," suggests Ian Lin of Bing Social Search. "Try including your city, school, or employer – for example 'John Smith Bing' – to find more results and start linking. Links can include your blog, a personal website, organizations you’re associated with, activities you’re involved with or just sites you like. And as your interests and activities change, you can easily link more. So now when your friends search for you, they’ll not only see trusted results from Bing, but also the pages and sites you’ve linked."
You can add your links at bing.com/linkedpages. You log in with your Facebook ID, by the way.
"Help your friends show up better on Bing too," says Lin. "Just search for a friend and link pages about them."
"You have full control over what results you’re linked in," Lin adds. "Simply follow the link notification from Facebook or go to bing.com/linkedpages to remove links you added or links your friends added about you. Once you remove a link, you are the only person that can go back and relink yourself to that page. And as a reminder, you have to give permission to Bing to start linking pages and can turn it off at any time by disabling the application in Facebook."
"As the most popular social network, Facebook has given all of us an easy way to re-connect with old friends or schoolmates," Lin adds. "Chances are they’re using search to check us out to see what else we’ve been up to. With Linked Pages on Bing, you can decide how you look to your old roommate, your first crush, or a new friend."
The Linked Pages are US-only at first.
The whole thing is a pretty interesting strategy for people search. It gives people more of a say in what information comes up for them in web searches. Really, it appears to be Bing's answer to the Google Profile, which of course is the center of a user's Google+ presence. And as you know, Google+ is being much more integrated into Google search results these days.
At BlogWorld back in November, I sat in on a session led by Bing's Duane Forrester, in which he explained that search engines have trouble connecting your various web IDs together to you as a person. I suggested that Google does this via the Google profile, which enables users to put the links they want associated with themselves on there, and connect them to their Google presence. I asked Forrester why Bing doesn't have something like this, given that who you are is becoming such an important signal on the web, and many people have various accounts with different non-identifiable user names all over the web. Here's a snippet from my previous article on this subject:
His response in a nutshell was that this isn’t one of the things users say they want. Bing asks what features users would like to see implemented, and they try to implement them as such, when feasible.
Another difference between Microsoft (which owns Bing obviously) and Google are the philosophies around their products. He referenced recent comments by Eric Schmidt, saying that Google is all one product. Microsoft, on the other hand is comprised of all kinds of different products, and that’s the way they view it. Google’s view (at least by my understanding) is that its various products are more like features of one greater product (which is actually how I’ve tended to look at it myself, which is why I consider Google+ to really be a lot bigger than people typically tend to view it as).
Forrester talked about how they could use things like Windows Live ID, but then there are potential legal issues that could come about when trying to use that stuff.
But it looks like Bing is kind of making up for the lack of a "profile" with this new offering. The fact that it has deals with Facebook and Twitter certainly help on the personalized connections front - the element Google is bringing to the table with Google+ and "Search Plus Your World".
If Bing can keep increasing its market share, this whole approach will only gain relevancy to web users.
Bing's Linked Pages are in beta. It appears that some have already been taking advantage, but you may not be able to do your own link associating just yet. Bing says to "check back soon".
Do you think this is a good strategy for Bing? Let us know in the comments.