Bing's new social site offers Facebook updates and Twitter feeds to track down the latest social-networking trends on your search topics.
Lance WhitneyContributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Bing will now pull up the latest updates from Facebook and Twitter on your search terms.
On Wednesday, Microsoft's search engine officially launched its social site, which taps into public and shared updates from Facebook and the latest tweets from Twitter to display real-time results for your search topics.
The social search engine works just like Bing's regular search engine. Simply enter your keyword, and you'll see a list of current and recent posts from the two social networks. Each post offers a link to a Web site--anything from a static page to a YouTube video--where you can view more on a topic.
Sensitive to privacy concerns related to Facebook, Microsoft said in its blog that Bing grabs updates only from Facebook fan pages and shared links from nonfan pages in which the status is set to share content with everyone. Even then, no names, photos, or other identifying information will show up in the feed.
Running a Bing social search displays two different sections. The top section, Public Updates, displays Twitter feeds and the content and links from public Facebook fan pages. The bottom section, Shared Links, also includes the latest tweets and offers links from individuals' Facebook pages.
The public updates appear in real-time--you can click on a Play/Pause button to refresh the content or keep it static. You can also click on a specific search result to see more updates on it or select the All Results link to display the results in Bing's traditional search engine. Bing also keeps track of your history so you can return to a previous search.
The results come through the Facebook and Twitter firehoses, which simply means that Bing grabs their feeds directly from the source rather than going through a third party.
In the meantime, other major search engines are hot on the social-networking trail. Google has been tapping into the Twitter firehose in its search results since last year, while Yahoo recently cut a deal to do the same. Neither as yet offers a peek into Facebook, although Yahoo announced an agreement this week to integrate news feeds and updates from Facebook into Yahoo Mail and the Yahoo home page.