In the ongoing battle between the California internet titans, Microsoft is calling on its friends to beef up search engine Bing's muscle
Bing has gained increased powers to search within Facebook, and will increasingly show results for content that friends have clicked on a Facebook "Like" button, Microsoft has revealed.
Bing will be able to dig into more information people have stored about themselves on Facebook. For example, pop in a city's name and Bing will turn up a list of friends who live there or who used to live there, who might be able to give advice.
The Microsoft search engine will also be able to offer "conversational search," in which friends can conduct a group search while having a dialogue on Facebook about the destination.
Bing will also be able to tap the "collective IQ" of the Web, using the amount of "Likes" that have been clicked about topics, articles and Facebook fan pages, to find the most popular content online at a particular moment, said Microsoft.
Google is not standing still in the face of this activity. It has added the "+1" button to some search results to use human connections to help steer its searchers. But it has limited access to the personal data within Facebook - nor can it directly link its searches to Facebook's communication tools.
Bing now attracts around 30 percent of searches in the US, compared to 65% for Google . But Bing's traffic has been growing.
Microsoft owns 1.6 percent of Facebook, and the two companies late last year announced a collaboration allowing Bing more abilities to search within Facebook. Friendship has its rewards!