Microsoft is testing a new feature called "Bing & Ping" for its Bing search engine that allows people to share search results on social networks Facebook and Twitter.
According to a post on the Bing community site by Nicholas Kerr, a Bing marketing manager, Bing & Ping is a "potential new feature" for Bing that allows people to click on links below a search result to post the information on social-networking sites or e-mail it to friends.
Kerr illustrated what the feature does with an example of using the Bing "Instant Answers" feature to check the score of a sports game. Under the results for the search requested is a box that includes several links to "Facebook," "Twitter," "Email" or "Copy" the information, much like how Web sites already allow people to share news stories and blog posts via social-networking sites by clicking on links to those sites.
By clicking on one of the links, the information will then post on a person's Facebook site or Twitter, or into an e-mail message.
As described, however, the feature will not extend to Microsoft's own Windows Live set of services and instant-messaging client, an omission some people noted in comments responding to the blog post. It also seemed an unusual move for Microsoft, which tends to prioritize its own technology over competitors' offerings when introducing new features to its existing products.
"What about sending an IM?" asked one user who called himself "Ali." "I think it's great that you're embracing all the other Web services out there, but how can Microsoft expect other Web sites/businesses to embrace their online services when Microsoft's own properties often don't. Be great to see a little more integration."
Kerr's blog post did not say when and if the feature would indeed be a part of the search engine, but advised people to become a fan of Bing on its Facebook page, where the company plans to post an invitation to test the feature.
He also did not respond publicly in the post to comments about if Microsoft would consider integrating the feature into its Windows Live services.
Microsoft introduced Bing as a rebranding and update of its Live Search engine in June, and so far the engine has gotten positive reviews and has helped Microsoft increase its share against Google in number of search-engine queries. Early numbers have shown Bing is taking more share away from Yahoo's search engine than Google's, which remains the dominant favorite for most search queries.
Not long after Bing's release, Microsoft and Yahoo struck a deal in which Yahoo will give up its own search engine research and business to use Bing as the underlying engine for Yahoo Search.