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Following the success of the search alliance, MSN is on a roll making changes for the better. It now plans to integrate social network feeds into our search results. Google has already taken a step in this direction where Google+ posts have been posted within our search results.
However, this has been met with some criticism, with the belief that it is a ploy to deliberately manipulate its index to promote Google+ itself. MSN has cleverly swerved any concerns like this by planning to include updates from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Google+ themselves suggesting that, although a bold move by MSN it is a strong step in securing its future – it only now needs to face the challenge of pulling users away from Google.
So, what does this all mean to us, the users?
There won’t be any difference in the way we can search but there will be a visible change, allowing us to interact more with our standard search results page. This will appear in the form of a dedicated side pane, incorporating relevant posts from the users’ own social network contacts. Not only this, MSN are also launching an ‘Ask Friends’ feature with this; which allows the users to post questions and comments to their social network friends.
Incorporated into this, MSN will even suggest one or more of your friends that may be able to answer or provide help with your query; this is generated by Bing cleverly tracking our Facebook profiles and likes so that any ‘friend suggestions’ provided by them are relevant. All of this will show for every search a user makes but there is the option to opt out.
All of this sounds great but the question is, has this move trumpeted Google’s move? It certainly is a competitive step by MSN, but we have to remember the percentage of the user market Google holds; will users suddenly decide to switch their search engine because of this new integration? Even though this plan by MSN seems to be more advanced and pushes the boundaries of social and search integration further than Google had done previously, will that really mean people will change from Google to MSN? We shall see, this plan is set to be rolled out in the US soon with the UK to follow at a later date.
Will this spur Google on to meet the new challenge and resolve the previous criticisms head-on or will they resign to the fact that they hold the higher percentage of the users market and do nothing?We shall have to wait and see!