SiliconFilter

Linked Pages: Bing Now Lets You Curate and Highlight Links that Are About You

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Google may have Google+, but Bing has a close relationship to an ever bigger and more important social network: Facebook. While Google now highlights your Google+ profile when people search for you, Bing has been showing Facebook profiles in its search results for quite a while now. With its new “linked pages” tool, however, Bing is now taking this concept a bit further. Bing now also lets you choose which of your social networking profiles and websites will be featured in a special box at the top of its search results pages when people search for your name. According to Bing, appropriate sites would also include your city, school or employer, for example. This feature is only available in the U.S. so far.

Given that Google has been widely criticized for putting too much emphasis on links to its own social network, it is worth noting that Bing uses your Facebook profile as its main result and then highlights the other pages you curate underneath that. Your Google+ profile, of course, can be one of these links, too.

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Link to Me

Thanks to its close relationship with Facebook, it’s no surprise that Bing uses the social network as the basis for this tool. You use it to log in to Bing to customize your links, for example, and you can also post newly linked sites to your Facebook profile as well. To prevent you from spamming your friends with new links, only the first link of the day will be posted in your Facebook timeline.

The Bing team has decided to go one step further, though, and also allows others to make suggestions for sites you could be connected to. This linking isn’t automatic, though, and Bing will always ask you for permission first.

You can, of course, always remove a link as well.

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Getting Started

Here is how all of this works in practice:

You first log in to Bing’s Linked Pages tool (using your Facebook credentials). Then, Bing will display all the pages it found about you and then lets you choose which of those links are really about you (and not about somebody you share a name with).

Similarly, you can search for your friends (assuming you are also their friend on Facebook) and then suggest sites that are linked to them.

Video

You can see the feature in action below (narrated by an oddly infomercial-sounding Stefan Weitz):

<a data-cke-saved-href="http://video.msn.com/?vid=649129a0-2e8a-40c8-87cc-4c3b003a7dbf&mkt=en-us&src=SLPl:embed::uuids" href="http://video.msn.com/?vid=649129a0-2e8a-40c8-87cc-4c3b003a7dbf&mkt=en-us&src=SLPl:embed::uuids" target="_new" title="Make a Good Search Impression with Bing’s Linked Pages">Video: Make a Good Search Impression with Bing’s Linked Pages</a>



10:15 am


Google’s Flight Search Goes Mobile

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Google today launched its flight search feature for mobile browsers. Since it acquired travel software provider ITA Software in 2011, Google has been very deliberate about rolling travel search into its main search engine. It first launched relatively limited version of its ITA-based stand-alone flight search feature in September 2011 and then integrated this tool deeper into its regular search results in December. Now, whenever you feel like taking a trip, you can also use Google to search for flights on your Android and iOS phones as well.

Mobile, But Still Limited

This means, you can now use the regular search feature in the browser on your phone to look for something like [flights from New York to Washington] and bring up the mobile flight search feature.

This new feature brings most of the desktop version's tools to the mobile version as well, including the ability to discover places on a map and the ability to find the cheapest dates to travel.

Even on mobile, Google's travel search tools is still the fastest in the business, but at the same time, though, it also suffers from the same limitations as the desktop version. You can't use a search query to specify specific dates, for example. If you do so, flight search won't even kick in. Flight search also still doesn't work for international destinations.

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3:20 pm


Google’s Search Results Now Highlight Content Creators

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When it comes to figuring out which search result you want to click on, chances are, you gravitate toward the first three links. These days, however, Google and Microsoft are also adding more social signals to their search results pages to give their searchers a better idea of what their friends may have liked. Today, Google is adding yet another layer to its search results that should help users identify interesting content. Results that feature content from authors at a select number of news sources and blogs will now prominently feature the author’s name and Google Profile image next to the search results (including our own little blog here, which was part of the pilot). This is meant to help Google’s users identify interesting new content from people the company trusts.

How Google Identifies Authors

In order to get this to work, writers will have to ensure that they have a Google Profile that is linked to their sites and that they use Google’s new authorship markup (specifically, the rel=”author” tag) to ensure that Google knows who wrote any given story on your site. A number of large sites, including the New York Times, have already implemented the necessary tags to highlight their authors. Adding the necessary tags to most blogs should be relatively easy for most writers, too, but for the time being, this new feature is just available in a limited pilot, though Google expects to expand this program over time.

Google, of course, has been struggling to prevent the mediocre content that most of today’s content farms push out from polluting its search results. With the recent updates to its search algorithms, it has made some strides in this direction. While it’s not directly linked to weeding out content farms, this new feature is meant to highlight content from people Google trusts. Indeed, Google argues that its users will trust content more when they know the writer and – at the same time – writers will hopefully do a better job at writing when they know their name is prominently linked to their stories.



10:01 pm


Bing Expands Facebook Integration With More “Liked Results”

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All the major search engines are now working on integrating signals from your own personal network on sites like Facebook and Twitter to enhance their search results. Google launched its latest initiative last week and today Bing is launching the next step in its program to bring more “liked results” to its results pages. Whenever one of you friends has liked a page that appears in your search results on Microsoft’s search engine, this fact is now highlighted on Bing and your friends’ profile pictures will appear underneath the link.

Bing already featured some Facebook likes on its pages before, but these results were still limited to a selection of sites that were whitelisted by Bing and results appeared in their own box at the top of the search results. Today’s update brings “liked results” to any page on the Web that one of your friends has liked in the past.

Unlike Google, Bing doesn’t surface any shared links from Twitter. Google, on the other hand, doesn’t show any Facebook ‘likes’ yet.

It doesn’t look as if Bing is using these signals to influence what links you see in its algorithmically determined search results, though. Depending on how much you trust your friends’ recommendations, that is either a good or a bad thing, but chances are that Microsoft is also working on making social recommendations one of the (infamous) 1,000 signals Bing looks at to determine search relevancy.



10:03 am



Google Puts Renewed Focus on Real-Time Search with New Social Search Test

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Somehow I completely missed the fact that those blue “shared by” links on Google’s search results page that I started seeing a few days were new. Given the pace of the search giant’s development cycle, I have to admit that I’m sometimes actually rather confused about what’s new and what’s been around for a while on Google…

But these “shared by” links are clearly new – and more and more people are now seeing them, too, so this seems to be more than just one Google’s many bucket tests and could be here to stay. These links tend to appear underneath links to news items in the OneBox news results section when you search for recent events. Another new feature is a live count of recent updates that now appears underneath the “Recent Updates” box when you search for keywords that are currently popular or trending on Twitter and Facebook.

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All of this points to a new emphasis of real-time search results in Google. Over on Search Engine Land, Danny Sullivan speculates that Google could soon restrict these searches to just your friends, which is entirely possible and would make sense in light of Bing’s recent addition of more social features, but I actually find the new focus on real time more interesting. All of these new links, after all, point to Google’s real-time search feature, which was mostly hidden from sight until now. Instead of just pointing to a somewhat cryptically names “Updates” section in the sidebar, this new test actually explains that these updates come from “Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and more.”



11:06 pm