bingOn March 30,, Google debuted +1, their answer to social search. Although it’s still only available right now to people who sign up to test it, the idea behind it is that if people like a website, they will click a +1 button next to the website’s link in the SERPs. Google is also rolling out a +1 button for webmasters to add to their websites so people can click on them from there. So then we’ll be able to see how many people +1′s Joe Schmo’s blog about tennis shoes. Because if 10 people +1 it, then it must be a good website, right?

I’m sorry, but I don’t need people to validate my websites for me. I can determine on my own whether or not a website is useful and meets my needs.

But I digress. Doesn’t the +1 button sound suspiciously like the, well, “like” button that Facebook has ingrained into the minds of the world? I think it does.

Now, Facebook and Bing for some reason have always been on pretty good terms. Facebook lets Bing aggregate it’s data (like links shared) for Bing Social. And just recently, Bing has added the functionality to be able to sign into Bing with your Facebook account and you can see which of your friends have liked links that end up appearing in your search results.

Nifty.

On May 16, Bing unveiled additional search features to search results. If someone in your network has liked a website, it will most likely be ranked higher and put on the first page so that you can quickly check it out. Obviously, this is only going to happen if you are signed into Facebook but this means big changes for search results.

If you search for a place, it will show your Facebook friends who live in that place and you can click right to their profiles, so you can ask them questions (according to the Microsoft representative).

facebookAnd, if a website doesn’t have a “like” button on it, no problem. Download the Bing Toolbar and you can like any website out there on the world wide web. It doesn’t matter that the webmaster hasn’t installed one on there website. Can you say major data collection, anyone?

Obviously this is going to have a huge impact on SEO. Experts have been saying for quite awhile that if you have a website, you need to get some social love from the likes of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. And if people are “liking” your website, that’s going to be in your favor.

Aside from the SEO implications, I don’t know if I like where this trend is going. Reading the Official Bing Blog’s post about these new social search additions, I caught myself saying out loud “Yeah, right.” I don’t think everyone needs to get their friends’ input for every single decision out there. I know that I don’t. I don’t need people to tell me whether or not a website is good; I can determine that on my own. And everyone’s search needs are different. A great site to one person might be crap to someone else.

Here’s the part from the Microsoft post that really made me chuckle:

“Research tells us that 90% of people seek advice from family and friends as part of the decision making process. This “Friend Effect” is apparent in most of our decisions and often outweighs other facts because people feel more confident, smarter and safer with the wisdom of their trusted circle. A movie critic may pan the latest summer block buster, but your friends say it’s the feel good movie of the year, so you ignore the critic and go (and wholeheartedly agree). Historically, search hasn’t incorporated this “Friend Effect” – and 80% of people will delay making a decision until they can get a friend’s stamp of approval. This decision delay, or period of time it takes to hunt down a friend for advice, can last anywhere from a few minutes to days, whether you’re waiting for a call back, text, email or tweet.”

Are we all just junior high girls that can’t even use the restroom without telling someone about it? But I guess it will save some people that dreadful time of waiting to see what their friends think before taking some sort of action. Ugh. Does anyone have their own mind anymore? If you need me, I’ll be over here helping out my and credit card processing company and not needing the opinion of every single person I know while I’m doing it.

Photo Credit #1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/grahamsblog/5679699377/

Photo Credit #2: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shaneblog/4596319737/

 

 



 

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