Bing and Google deepen social integration in search

Bing launches Foursquare integration, while Google brings deeper Google+ integration to search

Microsoft and Google are each taking steps to extend the social networking capabilities in their search services, with the goal of making it easier to find or share useful results.

Bing search results will now include tips and recommendations from Foursquare users, Microsoft said in a blog post Wednesday, while Google is apparently testing a feature that lets users share a link in Google+ directly from their search results page.

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The developments show the companies continuing to compete over how best to integrate social content with search. Bing continues to partner with existing social networks, while Google continues to build on its own.

Bing will display tips and recommendations shared publically to Foursquare about businesses or other locations relevant to a user's search query and location, Microsoft said. The search engine displays the Foursquare content in its social sidebar, which launched this spring. The tips and recommendations will be included in the "people who know" section, which doesn't require the Bing user to be signed in to his or her social networks.

"This is only the beginning of Foursquare integration," a spokesman said via email.

Also on Wednesday, industry watchers spotted Google testing a "share" button next to some search results that allows users to post the returned link to their Google+ profiles. Screen shots of the feature were posted to Twitter by a search marketing specialist in the U.K. and reported by Search Engine Land.

The feature would also allow users to comment on the links they share through a small pop-up window that appears on the results page when the "share" link is clicked.

The "share" button would apparently replace the "+1" button currently included with Google search results. The "share" feature would display the content more prominently on a person's Google+ profile. It apparently sends the link to a user's main content stream, whereas the +1 feature sends it to a list of +1 content in the Google+ user's profile.

Bing said its Foursquare integration began rolling out Wednesday, and will reach all U.S. users in a few months.

Google did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

Cameron Scott covers search, web services and privacy for The IDG News Service. Follow Cameron on Twitter at CScott_IDG.

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