Bing has officially rolled out with a socially enhanced sidebar to their search engine. It’s a new streamlined design which makes it easier to find people who are relevant to your search based on what they’ve shared, publicly blogged or tweeted about. You can now see what friends, experts and enthusiasts from leading networks including Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, Google+ and Klout have shared.
Take for instance, if you were to search for, say “social media”, you’d get organic results on the left, PPC results in the middle, and primarily Facebook results on the right. You can see in my example below, the social sidebar populated friends in my Facebook and Twitter network who had mentioned, commented on or shared something about social media. Pretty nifty. This can be especially advantageous if you were searching for something like a new restaurant in the city since we all know how much peer-reviews influence our purchasing decisions — whether we like to admit it or not.
You may be thinking, “I don’t care about all of this because I only use Google anyway.” Whether that may or may not be true, the fact of the matter is, people searching on Bing is at an all-time high. Currently, Bing holds a 16% market share compared to Google’s 66.9% as of October 2012. And with the increased integration of Facebook into its search results, you really don’t want to overlook Bing’s growth potential in the near future. Even though it’s too early to see how much usage the social sidebar will garner or whether people will see it as a differentiator vs. Google, marketers should definitely keep it on their radar.
All of these changes search engines are going through with incorporating more and more social integration should tell us something. It should tell us that we need to put more focus on delivering great content than ever before. It should tell us the importance of creating content that people will naturally want to share on their social networks because at the end of the day, it doesn’t just show up on their network…it shows up on their friends networks…and now more importantly, their search results. Social search is here to stay.
What are your thoughts about Bings new partnership with Facebook and their improved social sidebar?