Bing's new Facebook integration takes another step toward social search

Bing recently relaunched its social search initiative with a new sidebar that allows users to comment and like others' Facebook posts directly from Bing and ask Facebook friends and other users questions while conducting a local search.

In the new Bing interface, a gray sidebar houses all of the social information. For example, when someone performs a Bing search about getting tickets to the Cincinnati Reds game this Saturday, the social sidebar will show four options: Friends who might know, friends to ask, people who know and an activity feed. The "friends who might know" result mines a user's Facebook friends for any mentions of the Cincinnati Reds, Facebook likes or photos tagged from a Reds game. The other options allow users to pose questions to all Facebook friends, see the history of questions asked in his or her network, and see what those on other social networks have to say on the topic.

Derrick Connell, vice president of search program management at Bing, recently told CNET that this change allows users to reconnect with people and explore the knowledge their friends have but rarely write down.

For local businesses, Bing and Facebook's strong partnership means it's important to have a strong social media strategy for local search.