Bing fully integrates Facebook Likes

Ronny Kerr · February 24, 2011 · Short URL:

If your friends have liked something in your search results, you'll see their names and pictures

Bing announced Thursday morning that it will be fully integrating Facebook Likes into search results for all users.

Now, instead of seeing the typical list of links and captions, as pictured above, users might also be treated to metadata that highlights which of their friends like a certain item occurring in the search results:

The new feature was actually first unveiled in October 2010, but now it’s coming to all users for all searches.

“This is the first time in human history that people are leaving social traces that machines can read and learn from, and present enhanced online experiences based on those traces,” writes Lawrence Kim of the Bing Social Team. “As people spend more time online and integrate their offline and online worlds, they will want their friends’ social activity and their social data to help them in making better decisions.”

Facebook only launched social plugins like the Like button last April and they’ve already firmly planted themselves across the Internet. Bandcamp pages for a musician’s new album, books for sale on online retailer sites, an independent documentary set to be released in the summer--virtually anything can have a Like button affixed to its Web promotion page.

More than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook and an average of 10,000 new ones are added every day, according to the company’s own measurements. Over 250 million people engage with Facebook through those sites every month.

No Web company can deny these statistics, boasted by Facebook itself. In fact, though that page claims that Facebook has 500 million active users worldwide, Goldman Sachs was actually telling investors last month that the number actually floats around 600 million; I’m wondering whether the social network is selling itself short with those other stats.

Regardless, the new Bing update is a strong move and one that has to worry Google at least a little bit. If Facebook's leader Mark Zuckerberg and any other analysts are correct in saying that social is the future of the Web, then any modern search engine will likely have to use Facbeook’s data in this manner.

As of now, Google only includes links shared from Twitter.

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