Hot on the heels of Graph Search’s debut, Microsoft has updated its Bing social sidebar to add more Facebook data into search results.
Bill Hankes, director of Bing at Microsoft, said the update brings a key improvement to the Bing social sidebar: users who link their Facebook accounts will see five times more content from friends’ timelines.
Not only did Microsoft increase the number of results brought to search queries, but also the new social sidebar delivers the most relevant, qualitative information the Bing search engine can find, Hankes added.
Up until the update rolled out, the sidebar deduced its results from these sources: a user’s profile data, photos and “Likes” – the three earliest points that Microsoft added from Facebook.
In an interview with eWeek, Hanks said the update will now include status updates, shared links and comments to the “earlier signals.”
The move pads the position of Microsoft Bing as a search engine, a tool people use to look for recommendations online and finish activities for them – not only pure research.
Hanks said the addition of other Facebook signals leads to a more robust search experience that brings quality results.
Facebook Graph Search
Graph Search is Facebook’s latest social search feature that delivers results to queries – images, clips, documents, links, and almost any shared item shown in a user’s Timeline, going back to the day they joined the world’s largest social network – while typing.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and co-founder of Facebook, introduced Graph Search at a press conference earlier this week as the social network’s “third main pillar,” which links all items together and directly answers queries in real time.
He added that Graph Search is the company’s latest pillar to date: Newsfeed, the first pillar, connects with the people around you; Timeline, the second pillar, tells the history of the people around you.
While Facebook’s partnership with Microsoft – Bing powers Facebook’s web search – implies a degree of collaboration to develop Graph Search, Hanks said the new search technology was homegrown at Facebook.
Zuckerberg conveyed as much during the event at Facebook’s headquarters when he said Graph Search is something the company has been working on for some time.
Furthermore, Hankes said Facebook Graph Search and Bing’s social sidebar are different technologies, as the former is a way to search organized user-contributed data over the years.
Hankes also said that Microsoft is heavily investing in social search, because it is a major aspect of today’s search technologies, and users themselves hold the keys to information that people search for on the Internet.
Featured image by jwalsh via Flickr (CC)