Both Google and Bing have been making changes as of recent, each in their own way. Most noticeably, Google has been experimenting with Twitter data and, more recently, its +1 feature. Google +1 adds tagging of search results for sharing those results to contacts in your Google Account. Bing has their partnership with Facebook, integrating Likes into results and has also been leveraging and integrating social sites directly into search results.
Google's Take on Social
By releasing +1, Google has created their own feature that, at the moment, appears to mimic Facebook's Like button. This appears to be more of a business move by Google, promoting their own Google accounts and profile service. Google's dashboard and toolbar also seem to promote this end.
Currently, only your Google contacts see +1 annotations. However, a Google spokesperson recently informed SEW that over time, Google will also be "showing you annotations from people you are connected to on Google, as well as sites like Twitter," through Google +1 and also Google Social Search.
Google acknowledges that there's a lot of competition in the social space. Their stance is that competition is good for users, because it gives people more choices and "makes us all work harder."
Bing on Social
As opposed to creating a new social signal, Bing's approach is to leverage your existing social networks, such as Likes from Facebook. Like Google, Bing also likes to see search engines embracing the ever-changing Web. Bing has been "incorporating social signals in search for some time to help people make more informed decisions," Stefan Weitz, Director of Bing tells Search Engine Watch.
Bing shared some search statistics that they use to help build the Bing search experience:
- 57% of search sessions take more than one day
- 65% of people are visual learners
- As query complexity increases, success decreases by 15%
These statistics are helping to drive changes to the Bing Search results as they visually re-organize result pages in a way to help you not only search, but actually accomplish tasks faster.
Currently, Bing is also directly integrating objects from OpenTable and FanSnap into the Bing Local search vertical. Each of these features allow you to interact directly with search result content. If you're not familiar, OpenTable allows you to book reservations and FanSnap allows you to purchase tickets for concerts and other events; both directly from within the Bing Local search result pages.
It is clear that both engines have found their differentiators. Many people I have talked to say that Bing can't possibly gain market share on Google. As search and social continue to blend more and more, the one who integrates better just may come out on top.
What do you think?