If you want to know more about a new rock band or a new restaurant, you’ll probably do a search.
But then you realize a few of your friends might know something about that band or that restaurant and already have an opinion. So why not do a search and question your friends at the same time?
That’s the plan behind Microsoft’s most recent update to its Bing search engine.
Microsoft announced Monday that when users do a search, they can tag their Facebook friends by name and get their recommendations on the search.
“Have a friend who’s a travel guru and can help you plan a summer vacation?” asked the Bing Team in a blog post. “A foodie who can lend some suggestions for your next backyard barbecue? Or maybe you’re searching for great hiking trails and want your friends to tag along.”
When a user does a search, she can enter a question or comment in the sidebar and then type the names of up to five Facebook friends, the blog post says. That way she can get search results and information from people she trusts.
“With your permission, the question will post on your Facebook timeline, and your tagged friends will be notified so that they can pitch in and help you find what you’re looking for,” the blog says. “Remember—you are always in control of what you share through the sidebar.”
The relationship between Google and Facebook has had its ups and down. Google made social search deals with Facebook and Twitter late in 2009, but both deals came to an end and were never renewed.
Bing, however, still has a social search deal going with Facebook, as well as with Twitter.
That means Google’s only social searches are linked in with its own social network, Google+.
Having a partnership with Facebook, which has more than 900 million global users, thus gives Bing an advantage in its social search, compared with Google+, which has nearly 111 million users worldwide.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon’s RSS feed. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story, "Bing lets you ask your Facebook friends as you search" was originally published by Computerworld.