The Microsoft-owned search engine began previewing “the new Bing” to subscribers to its newsletter under the mantra, “Bing is for doing.”
When you search Bing for “vacation rentals” or “Honolulu hotels,” for example, you’ll see sponsored and organic results as you normally would on the search results pages, but you’ll also now see a dark gray column at the far right showing posts from your Facebook friends on the topic.
If your friends don’t get out much and haven’t honeymooned in Honolulu recently or rented a vacation home, then Bing’s social column may be a relative blank slate.
But, if they are well-traveled, it could show friends’ Facebook updates and photos relating to Hawaii vacations or vacation rentals, assuming they have “liked” the subject or posted something about it.
From that social column, if you give Bing permission, you can also let your Facebook friends know that you are looking for advice
about Hawaii travel or vacation rentals, and your question, statement or riff will appear in your Facebook Timeline.
You can also show Facebook friends which results you’ve found on Bing and share them.
All of this is self-promotional for Bing and could provide a service to consumers if they want to let their Facebook friends know — or not — if they’ve just searched for liposuction or root canal services.
Of course, the so-called “new Bing’s” social feature is not just for travel. You can also take advantage of it to search for exterminators, wallpaper or movies.
Bing’s new moves in the social arena highlight Microsoft’s cozy ties with Facebook, both of whom see the alliance as a hedge against Google’s power.
Google says it places +1 next to relevant search results, touting its own Google+ social network, but its search results pages now look like a lonely hearts club compared with Bing’s.