beautiful bytes – A social search explosion
Bing’s new Facebook Integration
This week Bing, Microsoft’s Google competitor, has expanded its Facebook integration to display a lot more data from the world’s biggest social networking site.
Last year, Bing added more social features by letting you know when your friends Liked certain content and brought Facebook profiles to the top of a search when a name was entered into the search bar. Now, they’ve developed their social offering with the following new features: (via mashable)
- Featuring content from Likes: If your friends have liked specific articles or content from a website, with Bing’s new Facebook integration, those articles will appear straight underneath the site in the search results.
- Changes to search rankings: Facebook Likes now affect search rankings. Articles or pages which your friends have liked will appear on the first page where they might have been lower down before. The charity sector is always questioning the true value of a Facebook Like to their organisation and search engine optimisation (SEO) merely adds another string to Facebook’s significancy bow.
- Facebook Page integration: It is now possible to see pages status updates in search results. This highlights the need for clever and insightful status’ from a page, as it is now even more likely that it will form part of your first impression.
- Bing toolbar + Facebook: Possibly the biggest news to come from this is the universal Facebook Like button. You can now Like any web content regardless of whether it has an integrated Like button or if it is a Facebook page.
Google playing catch-up
Facebook has achieved phenomenal growth over the last year. Following their successful launch of Places, improved brand pages and user base tipping the 600 million mark, Facebook can’t seem to put a foot wrong (apart from certain smear campaigns to be addressed later).
Collecting a huge amount of data on users, who their friends are and what they all like, Social Graph has given Facebook (and marketers!) an incredibly powerful source of information. Google, however, is struggling for purchase.
So, no longer the first port of call for insight on the inner workings of the common web users mind, Google have set about building a social Leviathan to rival Facebook. And you’d expect them to go about it in their usual revolutionary manner, but you’d be wrong.
Google is now linking all our Internet activity (on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to name a few) through our Google profile – a clever move to cut costs and a lot of effort that has already been expended by others.
They have also been introducing new features to get the ball rolling. A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about the launch of Google +1, effectively Google’s Like button. This is all forming part of a much larger, socially networked picture.
So will this take off like Google needs it to? Well, it’s difficult to say, but I think it all depends on whether they can offer a USP to attract people to yet another social profile.
For the charity sector however, I would say there is no harm in being ready for it to succeed. Implementing +1 buttons across our websites will likely be a five-minute job and will do nothing but improve the way people find our content whether that’s through friend recommendations or improved search rankings.
A handy tool or a sweeping privacy violation?
Whilst Bing is being very vocal about it’s new Facebook features, Google was unexpectedly quiet about launching social facet Google Social Circle. This lead to people questioning the tool, not least, their biggest rivals, Facebook.
The Google-Facebook contention was brought to a head this week after it became apparent that Facebook had hired US PR agency Burson-Marsteller to ‘highlight’ some of Social Circle’s privacy issues.
Google Social Circle collates contacts from all social sites you use. Including from Facebook. Whilst they don’t have permission to do this directly through Facebook, they gain the information from other sites that you’ve used your Facebook credentials to sign in with.
This lead Facebook to release emails to the press outlining some of the main privacy concerns.
“Google, as you know, has a well-known history of infringing on the privacy rights of America’s Internet users …”
These emails were published by a blogger, Chris Soghoian, who was asked by Burson-Marsteller to ghost write a post investigating how a Google feature called Social Circles has been quietly violating the privacy of its users.
Instinct is likely to tell you that Facebook aren’t genuinely worried about our personal information (a case of the pot calling the kettle an infringer of user privacy). However, whilst it’s obvious that this is a self-indulgent play on behalf of Facebook, do they have a point when it comes to Google’s latest social offering?
A lot of people have taken to speculating over the feature in forums and on blogs. Many seem adverse to the idea. Having searched the internet (ironically through Google which is a force of habit a multitude of privacy violations can’t seem to shake) I found that the following features of Social Circles are causing the biggest problems.
- You can’t currently delete Social Circles from your Google profile
- Google does not notify people that their information is being used in a worldwide database.
- Google Social Circles does not ask “permission” from individuals who’s data they collate
This process is by no means illegal and some embrace Google Social Circle as a useful summation of their online activities. If you’re active on five different social media platforms and spend all of your time uploading personal and detailed information about yourself, who’s to say that gathering this information up into a one page outline is a violation?
The main problem is that people aren’t informed of how Google is finding and publishing the information.Some may have shocked themselves with how much personal information they’ve uploaded.
Let us know what you think of Social Circles and Facebook’s smear campaign in the comments.
For the last week, we have had our brains deep in the world of social media measurement and tracking success of digital campaigns. It’s a pretty hot topic at the moment with the recent acquisition of radian6 by Salesforce, which really emphasised the increased need to measure ROI from social campaigns.
In more recent news, and following their acquisition of Delicious.com, Youtube have just bought Tap11, a social reporting tool that collects data from various sources and delivers it in one convenient dashboard. With access to the data Delicious has collected, there seems to be a lot of potential for the platform.
It will be interesting to see how effectively we’ll be able to measure ROI of future campaigns, or perhaps rather interestingly, add value to previous campaigns that could not have been measured in such a way (if it’s possible to backdate information).
Ash and Lucy J