Facebook Friends Now Fueling Faster Decisions on Bing

At Bing, our mission is to help you make faster, more informed decisions. We designed a new way to experience search, focusing on great design, task completion, instant answers, and vertical categories like shopping and travel to help you make decisions faster. While we’ve made great strides in these areas, there is a huge opportunity for improvement. Today, search remains largely driven by facts and links – we think it’s time to change that.

Research tells us that 90% of people seek advice from family and friends as part of the decision making process. This “Friend Effect” is apparent in most of our decisions and often outweighs other facts because people feel more confident, smarter and safer with the wisdom of their trusted circle. A movie critic may pan the latest summer block buster, but your friends say it’s the feel good movie of the year, so you ignore the critic and go (and wholeheartedly agree). Historically, search hasn’t incorporated this “Friend Effect” – and 80% of people will delay making a decision until they can get a friend’s stamp of approval. This decision delay, or period of time it takes to hunt down a friend for advice, can last anywhere from a few minutes to days, whether you’re waiting for a call back, text, email or tweet.

Today, Bing is bringing the collective IQ of the Web together with the opinions of the people you trust most, to bring the “Friend Effect” to search. Starting today, you can receive personalized search results based on the opinions of your friends by simply signing into Facebook. New features make it easier to see what your Facebook friends “like” across the Web, incorporate the collective know-how of the Web into your search results, and begin adding a more conversational aspect to your searches. Decisions can now be made with more than facts, now the opinions of your trusted friends and the collective wisdom of the Web.

You can quickly see what your friends like and are sharing. Find and connect with the right friends faster. Pick the brains of friends of who live where you’re traveling and share shopping lists with your own team of retail gurus. And, return the favor to your friends by liking more things on the Web. With one click you can let your network know that you like a brand, an article, a celebrity or even a place. Because we know the best decisions are not just fueled by facts, they require the opinions and recommendations of your friends.

Here’s a snapshot of how this works:

Trusted Friends: Our research shows that nearly half of people say seeing their friends “likes” within search results could help them make better decisions. Bing’s new features make it possible for people to make decisions with their trusted friends.

  • “Liked” Results, Answers & Sites

Instantly see which stories, content and sites your Facebook friends have “liked,” from news stories, celebrities, movies, bands, brands and more. With the “thumbs up” from your friends you can jump right to the stuff that matters the most to you. Bing shows the faces of up to three of your friends that like a search result, offering a visual and virtual seal of approval from your trusted social network.

In addition, what happens when you search for something that you don’t know much about? Enter your friends. Let’s say you’re in the market for a new LCD TV – but you’re not even sure which sites to consult. Now with Bing, you’ll not only see the individual pages or stories your friends like, but the overall sites they like related to the topic you’re searching for. With help from your friends and Bing, you now know that a good site to check out info on LCD TVs is Overstock.com.

  • Personalized Results

Bing delivers a more personalized search experience by using the interests shown by your friends. Now you won’t miss potentially interesting information that may have been buried deep within the search results. Bing will surface results, which may typically have been on page three or four, higher in its results based on stuff your friends have liked. And, how often do you go beyond page one of the results?

Collective IQ – It’s not just your friends that can help you out – there’s also value in the larger brain trust of the Web. Bing now brings the collective IQ of people to decision making, when your friends don’t have the right expertise or you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Search is better when it’s not just based in math and algorithms, but also infused with the opinions of people. Input from the collective IQ can enable search to become a discovery tool, allowing you to benefit from the connections, inferences and “likes” of it.

  • Popular Sites

Bing shows well-liked content, including trending topics, articles and Facebook fan pages, from sites across the web, to help you dig in and quickly find exactly what you’re looking for. Looking for a great recipe? Now when you search for a recipe site, you’ll see what recipes people have liked on that site, allowing you to cut through the clutter and find the perfect recipe for dinner.

  • Integration of Social Messages

Bing not only shows you what your friends like and share online, but also what major brands and companies are saying. For example, when you search for Avis, the answer on Bing will integrate any recent Facebook posts alerting you to a new deal.

Conversational Search – Many decisions require a discussion with your friends. By combining Facebook’s communication tools with Bing, search can become conversational and turn decision-making on Bing from a passive experience to an active dialogue. For example, Bing now has a feature to help you pick the brains of friends who live where you’re traveling to. Or, you can share shopping lists with your own team of retail gurus – and this is just the beginning. Our vision is to combine Bing with the power of discovery and empowerment of conversation. That’s when the magic will really begin.

  • Expanded Facebook Profile Search

Sometimes you need a friend right away, and only Bing lets you hit the fast-forward button to the correct Facebook friend. Now, when searching for a specific person, Bing will provide a more in-depth bio snapshot, such as location, education, and employment details to help you find who you’re looking for more quickly.

  • Travel Wish List & Friends Who Live Here

Begin making your dream vacations a reality with Bing, and share your travel wish list with friends. The Bing Travel Wish List allows you to compare trips with friends on Facebook, suggest new destinations, and learn more about a location on Bing Travel. Once you’ve decided on a place, Bing will show you which of your Facebook friends live or have lived in that city, so you know exactly who to go to for travel tips.

  • Flight Deals

Finding a great flight deal doesn’t have to be an all-consuming quest. If you’ve liked a city on Bing, we will send great deals on flights directly to your Facebook feed. Simply search for flights on Bing Travel, and if you “like” what you see, Bing will notify you of any flight deals from that city.

  • Shared Shopping Lists

Never shop alone again! With Bing, you can build a shopping list and share, compare and discuss it with your friends on Facebook. From finding the best prices, to getting reviews from people you know and trust, or simply asking if something is “you” or not, Bing has you covered.

This is just the beginning. If you’d like to see more of your friend’s input, encourage them to “like” stuff on the Web, and return the favor yourself by “liking” things too. Our new Bing Toolbar has a universal “like” button – letting you easily give a virtual thumbs-up to any page on the web. Download it and “liking” things will never be easier.

And if you don’t want like the idea of sharing your “likes” with your friends, Bing makes it easy for you to control your experience – so you share only what you want.

Bing and Facebook are making a bet – one that will marry the logic of search, with the recommendations and opinions of your social network and the masses – to extend search beyond just fact-based decision making, to decisions that are made with the power of people AND search.

Go try it out yourself, by simply signing into Facebook on Bing. You can get ideas from people you know right in your search results and from the Web at large. It’s still the same decision engine from Bing. Now, it lets you tap into the opinions and collective know-how of your Facebook network so you can make faster, more informed decisions.

– Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft