Back towards the end of March, we here at the TM Office talked about the battle that has been developing between Bing and Google. In that blog post, I stated “Look for an epic battle between Bing and Google in 2011.” Well, people, the battle has officially begun and Bing has taken the first swing. Originally, when you searched through Bing, you were able to see what content/items your Facebook friends “Liked.” Last week, Bing doubled up their efforts through their partnership with Facebook.

Starting last week (May 17, 2011) Bing started to provide its users with search result annotations. When you search for something on Bing, the search engine will now order and display the results based on how many of your friends have “Liked” it on Facebook. This is done with thumbnails and annotations under any link which your Facebook friends have “Liked.”

The next advancement with Bing is how they are surfacing content from “Likes.” For example, let’s say or came up when you were conducting a search on Bing. If any of your Facebook friends have “Liked” specific articles or bar/events from those websites, then the content will surface immediately below the or’s search result.

One of the bigger advancements is Bing’s ability to increase search rankings throughout the latest Facebook integration. See, you must be logged into Facebook to access Bing’s social search engine. But because so many people stay logged into their accounts all day, they are unaware they a searching through a “social” search engine. This social search engine now can greatly increase the page rank of a website. “Likes” on Facebook pages will now improve the order in which a web page appears in a search result. Something that may normally appear on the third page may now appear on the first page.

Now, let’s say a brand doesn’t have any “Likes” from your friends, but that brand still has a presence on Facebook. What you’ll end up seeing is the latest status update from that brand’s Facebook page.

Since October, you have been able to see which pages your friends have “Liked” on Facebook, but the latest update is a very innovative idea for people searches. For example, let’s say you search for Detroit. Bing will now show you which of your friends live close to that area.

Facebook has also added new sharing options for flights, travel and shopping. This is a huge improvement because, according to Bing, 90% of people ask their friends and family for advice when getting ready to make a purchase.

Finally, Bing has greatly increased their new toolbar. This toolbar now includes a universal Facebook “Like” button. Now you’ll have the ability to “Like” any website or web page, regardless if they have a Facebook “Like” button or not.

How do you feel about Bing’s latest updates? Do you think this is a creative and innovative idea or do you do you think Bing is getting a little too close for comfort? Do you think Google will respond, and if they do, how do you think they’ll react. Leave us some comments below so we can get a better understanding of this subject from you.

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