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Bing on Facebook: What will we lose by personalizing the search result?

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Facebook Vice President of Partnerships and Platform Marketing Dan Rose at the Facebook-Bing announcement. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

Yesterday, the "underdog" Bing made a very good friend with Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, said his company would pair with the Microsoft search engine, in part because of its 11 percent market share, underdog status compared with the Google giant, which gets about 65 percent of search market traffic.

The partnership means people will start seeing Facebook information show up in their search results on Bing. It will pull "liked results" from friends on Facebook and add them to your search results. More or less, that means if you "like" Justin Bieber, and your Facebook friend heads to Bing and searches for "unnaturally talented, young, coiffed man-child," they'll see your "like" recommendation.*

The idea, posited by Search Engine Land, is that while search engines such as Google uses links to rank pages, a search engine powered by Facebook "likes" would be more trustworthy, getting you to the right data based on your friend connections.

As with many of Facebook's recent moves, the specter of privacy invasion has risen, but another concern also seems to be percolating: Will this hamper the search experience by narrowing results to random "likes" by your Facebook friends?

One reader, Roule, was not happy with the announcement:

What miserable progress: Google returns search results based on corporate ad dollars, and Facebook returns search results based on your coddly group's opinions of the corporate ad-driven trend of the moment. If this is the future of search, count me out.

Gizmodo focuses on the great Bing-vs.-Google battle:

There's no more powerful partner in social search than Facebook and its 500 million users, and no question that for specific types of searches this gives Bing a solid upper hand. But is it enough to make you abandon Google's warm embrace? Depends on how active your friends are--and how much you trust their opinions.

Th advertising and marketing Web site Kherize has a warning:

They know we trust our friends and are more apt to click on a link that our friends have liked (and so do the hackers).

Fast Company says the change means companies have to rely less on links, and more on great customer experiences:

When their customers go searching online--for a movie, a camera, a travel destination--their friends' recommendations are going to be front and center. Launched a store that no one "Liked?" you're not going to show up in the search results.

Facebook has 517,760,460 users, but how many use the like button as a recommendation tool? Does this further the serendipity of stumbling on a link outside of your social circle or does this just mean we're making our online lives bigger echo chambers?

What's your take?

*(Okay, that search may not be totally accurate. It is an estimation.)

By Melissa Bell  | October 14, 2010; 11:13 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch, Your Take  
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Comments

Fuuny thing...I created the same program, mogoe.com, but guess without the big brand name, I don't get press. Oh well, users are staring to use mogoe and the iPhone app is on its way. Catch me if you can BING.

Posted by: miamike | October 14, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Have you ever walked through a well constructed 1800's house, touched the curving hand carved mahogany banisters and thought, "Wow, I've never seen anything of this quality!! I didn't even know it was possible to *have* homes built so beautifully and so strongly!". Younger people are going to have that reaction when remembering relationships Pre-Facebook. In Zuckerberg's quest to make himself rich, Facebook + Bing are mainstreaming and commercially exploiting human "relationships". They are inflicting the same degree of publicity and microscopic life examination that movie stars experience...but movie stars get paid to live in public. With FaceBing, it's Zuckerberg and Balmer that get paid, and the individuals who suffer the consequences of living a life in full public view. By "outing" every action and choice that young individuals make, FaceBing's online platform socially homogenizes relationships, culture, and now internet choices...creating a muddled gray culture which is heavily biased towards conformity..both to acceptable corporate behaviour and small group social behaviour. Young people, who know nothing else, are penalized socially, and now economically, for exploring any type of individuality. Every experiment, or experience, or mistake that a young person makes is now fodder for unthinking criticism by their expanded social group, and now the corporate world at large.
Small mistakes in judgment in this environment are amplified to the point of unyielding tragedy. One photo. One mistyped admission. These can now destroy a young life in the FB world. Bing adds amplification to that effect.
Young people are learning the lesson: Don't make any mistakes...don't even think about exploring or expressing yourself in a non-mainstream way......the result of any such experiment could be societal and economic shunning....or bullying.
...and so they don't. They don't take chances. They don't experiment. They don't use their youth for the purpose it was intended.....to learn the lessons of life while the consequences are still small. To make mistakes and to go on. To examine the boundaries of themselves and their world.
The new FaceBing world is loud, instantly judgmental,insipid and exploitive. It is an inhuman place for the young to live....and yet they do....and they learn the lessons that it teaches: Conform, conform, conform.
Relationships between people of this world will be so shallow, so insipid, and so without the true intimacy and trust that characterizes real relationships....that tomorrow's youth won't even know how bad it is until (and if) they get to see a real relationship among two people not conscripted by the boundaries of the FaceBing world.
I hope at least some of them figure this out. We need new, beautiful and strong houses. The world isn't getting any easier, and storms are coming.

Posted by: justaguy2 | October 14, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

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