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Back in 2009, when Microsoft introduced its search engine Bing, we asked: You Can Google Bing, But Will You Bing Google? Up to now, Bing has scarcely made a ding in the armor of its titanic rival Google. Indeed, in 2011 MS took a $2.6 billion loss in its online services division. But thanks to an investment in and partnership with Facebook, Microsoft thinks it has found a chink in Big G’s armor.
By drawing on Facebook and other social networks, Microsoft “hopes to mine people’s online social connections to provide more personal search results for everything from hotel searches in Hawaii to movie recommendations,” writes Nick Wingfield in the New York Times. Bing’s earlier effort to tap Facebook created a cluster of “likes” that made for messy displays. “The new Bing,” says Wingfield, “has a much cleaner design that tucks all of the social search results away into a sidebar on the Bing search results pages, where they are now clearly distinct from the traditional Bing search results on the left side of the screen.” (A Revamping of Bing in the Battle for Search Engine Supremacy)
Experts feel the quality of Bing’s search results is now the equal of Google’s in every way but one: it’s hard to beat a household name. Until bing becomes a verb, it will remain a distant second. And for more on the verbification of Google, see Even with 13% of Web Search Biz, Bing is Still a Noun.