Microsoft Bing now lets users personalise their queries by drawing on information friends have shared on Facebook.

This is a sign of things to come in the powerful world of search. It offers more personalised search enabling more interesting social scenarios in the future. From the Facebook explanation of today’s announcement: “When you search for something on Bing or in web results on Facebook (powered by Bing), you’ll be able to see your friends’ faces next to web pages they’ve liked.”

Google has been moving in the same direction. It already offers a version of this concept, a separate category of results drawn from people you’re linked with in your Google Account and on Twitter.

But by plugging into Facebook, Bing’s version of social search could be far more accurate and powerful than Google’s – if, that is, users don’t mind seeing their Facebook friends popping up on the site.

Liked Results

A new Bing search option will serve up relevant items shared by friends on Facebook. For example a search for a restaurant in Brighton will not just show the highest ranking resteraunts in Brighton, but the best places to eat according to your Facebook friends.

Profile Search

This will display Facebook profiles matching your query and provide people-specific links found in their general Web search. Both features rely on Facebook’s controversial “instant personalization” system. But unlike other partners, Bing has made it opt-in, so you shouldn’t see any sign of your Facebook presence on the site unless you give Bing permission first. This will please many people who are worried about privacy issues.

They are not enabled for everyone yet.

The social-search results turn up when searchers are logged in to Facebook; they can choose to opt out. If you have already edited your personalisation settings in facebook you may even need to turn them on again before it will work.

In which case edit your account settings –

  1. Go to privacy Settings and choose Applications and Websites
    2. Then you can click the enable personalisation check box at the bottom of the page.