By Max Clarke
Microsoft's bid at the search engine market has been slowly chipping away at Google's stupendous lead, but Bing still has a long way to go before it could have any dreams of clinching the top spot.
However, a massive upgrade to the decision engine could see Bing with a new selection of offerings that will draw young, savvy searchers its way. One of the biggest changes are the way the engine will return some searches with less of a traditional results page and more an interactive app that allows searchers to quickly modify the results. The other is the inclusion of a social search feature.
By teaming up with Facebook, Bing will look through recommendations made by your friends in the aim of returning more relevant and personalised results to your searches.
A spokesperson for SEO company Queryclick.com said this was a good choice for the company, and one that could pay off for it in the future. "When you look back at the way the social market has grown in the last few years, it's clear to see that more and more people are turning to the internet as a way to interact with friends as well as a way to find information.
"By combining search results with a social aspect, Bing could prove attractive to web users who spend the majority of their time on Facebook - and there are plenty of those out there."
The new feature is the result of a deal between the decision engine and the leading social networking site. Providing users have recently logged into their Facebook account, Bing will automatically recognise their account and search through all of the content associated friends have chosen to click a 'Like' button for.
The brand power of Facebook could be a huge asset to the decision engine and the partnership could also see Bing able to offer something new to the search market. While Google has also attempted to tap into the social networking market, its success has been nowhere near that of Facebook, and by partnering with the biggest social networking site of the time Bing may have the power to shake the foundations of Google's prime position.
Google tried to buy a share of Facebook back in 2007, but Microsoft managed to pip the Mountain View giant to the post. Then, Microsoft paid $240m for a 1.6 per cent stake in the company.
Queryclick explained the scope of the information Bing could now have the ability to share with its users. "Facebook's 'Like' button can be found the web over and people are clicking it more and more frequently, this means that the information Bing is searching will be constantly expanding and refined.
"Personalised information is also increasingly important to users, some of whom feel overwhelmed by choice online. If Bing is successful, companies may need to ramp up their attractiveness to social media users when considering their search engine optimisation campaigns and their SEO web. design