In its attempt to beat Google on its home turf, Microsoft has doubled down on Facebook to make its Bing search engine more relevant.
The changes are an expansion of last year’s Facebook integration. In the past, Bing delivered modules within search results depicting when your friends liked certain content. It also surfaced Facebook user profiles if you searched a person’s name.
Starting tomorrow though, Bing will display a lot more data from the Facebook Like button and from Facebook profiles. Here’s an overview of Bing’s new integration with Facebook:
Search result annotations: Bing now displays which search results your friends have liked. This is shown with annotations and small thumbnails under any link that your friends has liked.
Surfacing content from Likes: Let’s say Mashable or Cooks.com comes up in one of your searches, and your friends have liked specific articles or recipes from those websites. With Bing’s new Facebook integration, that content will surface right under the Mashable.com or Cooks.com search result. Bing says that this makes it easier to find the “good stuff” within core search.
Changes in search rankings: Facebook Likes now affect search rankings. An article that might have normally surfaced on the second or third page of search results may appear on the first page if friends have liked it.
Facebook Page integration: If a search result doesn’t have any likes from your friends, but that result has a presence on Facebook, its Facebook status updates may appear in search results.
Improvements to people search: Bing has prominently surfaced Facebook accounts in search results for individuals since October, but now Facebook accounts can appear in related searches. For example, if you search for Paris, Bing will show which of your friends actually lives there. While you may already know this information, it’s not something you think about every day, and it makes it easier to make the connect to actually message your friend about your France-related question.
More Facebook sharing options: Bing has added Facebook sharing options to its shopping, flights and travel search sections. You can now create and share shopping lists with your friends or post potential vacations to your wall. Bing says that 90% of people consult their friends or family before making a decision, so Bing wanted to make that process easier to accomplish.
Bing toolbar + Facebook: Bing has a new version of its toolbar starting tomorrow, and it will include a universal Facebook Like button. It gives you the ability to like any website or web page, regardless of whether or not it has added the Facebook Like button.