If there is one person in the industry who is constantly looking at how search and social are being combined and what signals there are in the industry which indicate further synergy, it’s Eric Enge.
Eric recently had an extensive interview with Google’s Matt Cutts and currently Eric is doing a series of short interviews with Bing’s Director of Search Stefan Weitz. In several short videos he talks to Weitz about different search and social related topics.
In the first two videos (you can see them below) Weitz commented on Social Signals (in a talk from last July), partnerships, Quora and Social Data sets. It gives us an interesting insight into Bing’s Social Search strategy, which is clearly different than the route Google is taking. And it might be a better route as well.
In the first video Stefan and Eric talk about social signals. What stands out here is the biggest difference with Google. Where Google is trying to figure out the social signals themselves, by connecting dots and by using data from their Google+ platform, Bing has taken the route of integrating information from different channels. We know about Facebook data off course, but Stefan also highlights the cooperation Bing has with Linkedin, Foursquare and Quora (in the second video).
And with these tools Bing tries not to ‘just’ look at your friends and what they are doing, but they are trying to take it one step further:
“what happens with Foursquare, it’s not necessarily that your friends checked in there. That’s potentially interesting, but what we’re actually displaying are tips about the venues that you’re looking at.
If you search for Italian pizza in Chicago, for example, we may show some tips from people who have gone to places in Chicago serving Italian pizza and actually give you the idea about what to do in those particular places.”
Taking the route Bing does is an interesting one. As Eric points out, “This social data source has been out there for a while”. People are used to working with Facebook, Twitter and even Foursquare or Quora. Which means that people are ‘at ease’ with the social tools and will share better content on there. Combining this information seems to be much more valuable than the information which comes out of Google+ for example.
Bing is ‘opening up’ data Weitz says:
“I think what’s so exciting about all of these social signals, and all of these social sources, is that so much of what those social signals actually are bringing are things that were previously trapped inside your head.”
Off course it is difficult to put a value on some of the data which people are sharing. Eric and Stefan for example talk about the value of a “like”, is there any value? To a certain extend, says Weitz:
“The likes are a good signal, but they’re not a granular signal of what particular thing you’re actually expressing a like about.”
In the second video Eric and Stefan specifically focus on the integration of Quora. Recently Bing added Quora to the social sidebar, which makes that it shows if your friends have answered any questions on specific topics you are searching for.
This means you will get extra information on a specific topic, which in a way is what Google is trying to do with Knowledge Graph. Bing however is keeping it on a much more social level and a less intrusive level.
Both videos give some nice insights into where Bing is heading and which route it is taking. A much different route than Google, and one might argue it’s a better route. They do need more users however to become that competitor of Google we desperately are seeking.
Watch both video’s below and listen to the exact things Stefan Weitz had to say to Eric Enge and learn that there is much more coming from Bing.