After fine-tuning a few features, Bing rolls out its Facebook social search integration, allowing profile info and updates from your Facebook friends to appear in your Bing searches.
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.
The new social search integrates with Facebook in a couple of ways.
If you opt to link your Facebook account with your Bing log-in, searching for the name of one of your Facebook friends in Bing brings up a link to that person's entire profile in your results. This is true even if that person has elected not to share their Facebook profile with any search engines, since only you can see those results. So if you have a Facebook friend named Jerry Seinfeld, a link to his profile will appear alongside results for the famed comedian.
Early testers of the Facebook integration were apparently unhappy that they couldn't view the profiles of their friends through Bing with the same ease they could through Facebook itself, according to the blog, leading Microsoft to set up this specific type of access.
Further, Bing tweaked the age requirements. Facebook requires its users to be 13 or older, but Bing initially limited profile search results to people 18 and older. Based on customer feedback, Microsoft changed this option to let all your Facebook friends regardless of age show up in your Bing search results.
The Bing and Facebook team-up also can retrieve results for items "liked by your Facebook friends." So if you're looking for opinions on a certain movie or restaurant, Bing can show you any Facebook friends who "liked" those specific items.
The ease with which Facebook information can flow into Bing may arouse some privacy concerns. The integration is a one-way street, so no information goes from Bing back to Facebook. But still, anyone wary of the new social search can control or turn off the feature on both accounts.