Bing and beyond: How Microsoft is attacking 'social search'

Bing and beyond: How Microsoft is attacking 'social search'

Summary: Like Facebook, Microsoft is focused on making search social. And it's not just via Bing that it's doing this.


On the heels of Facebook's announcement of its coming Graph Search capabillity, Microsoft is beefing up its existing social sidebar in Bing with even more Facebook information.


If you're someone who thinks Facebook friends are the kinds of experts best suited to helping you pick a restaurant, a movie or make other decisions via your search decision engine, you may be glad to hear that you can now see "an average of five times more Facebook content" from your friends in the Bing sidebar. This includes status updates, shared links and comments in addition to the already displayable "likes," photos and profile information. (Like me, you also can continue to keep your Bing and Facebook accounts disconnected if you're not a social-search believer.)

Microsoft officials played up the increased Facebook integration in a January 17 Bing Community blog post. Two days ago, when Facebook announced its Graph Search technology, the Bing team reminded users that Microsoft is still providing Web search for Facebook. Bing isn't providing any of the back-end search for Graph Search, however.


Bing isn't the only team doing work on social search. A post by my ZDNet colleague Paula Rooney about the Neo4j graph database reminded me that Microsoft Research has been doing work in this space, too. I blogged about the MSR graph-database project, codenamed Trinity, a year ago.

"Trinity is a general purpose distributed graph system over a memory cloud," according to the Trinity page on the Microsoft Research site.  "Memory cloud is a globally addressable, in-memory key-value store over a cluster of machines. Through the distributed in-memory storage, Trinity provides fast random data access power over a large data set. This makes Trinity a natural large graph processing platform."

At that time, the Trinity code was available only via the Microsoft intranet. But it was still intriguing. As I noted last March, one potential use of Trinity is people search within a network. The Trinity applications page shows off as an example searching within a "Web-scale social network," like, say, Facebook.

In December 2012, the Microsoft Research Asia team members involved with Trinity posted the 64-page Trinity "manual" for download. The manual outlines the thinking behind the project; Trinity architecture; the way Trinity integrates with SQL Server and more. 

The Trinity code is still marked as for Intranet use (inside Microsoft) only -- for now.

Topics: Big Data, Cloud, Google, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • We need Loverock Davidson to confirm just how wonderful Bing is

    Hurry up Lovie everyone is waiting for your post.....
    Over and Out
    • Hey Loverock

      He just mentioned you.

      I think this means you won?
      • I did

        I'm a driver I'm a winner things are gonna change I can feel it.
        • Wow

          Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online(Click on menu Home)

          Happy New Year!
    • Actually Bing is beautiful.

      Ram U
  • Facebook has some real problems with security

    with the web search. It allows for large scale harvesting not just of phone numbers on users profiles but the information attached. If this is carried over to the Bing social search it could be a big problem for Bing too.

    From a post today:

    "I tried entering consecutive phone numbers (starting with a random valid number, and varying the last 2 digits from 00 to 99) into Facebook's search box, and 13 of them came up with valid matches. None of those matches had any friends in common with the account we were searching from; as far as I can tell, anybody could enter any phone number into Facebook's search box and find the account associated with it, if there is one"
    • BTW

      The problem was found after someone started getting unwanted text messages to their cell phone.
    • One more note on the security issues

      If I can search with random phone numbers and harvest not only the numbers but profile data and data posted on someone's facebook page, I can likely get anything I want from them, like banking password recovery tips, etc. Facebook asks users to publish their real birth dates and many do, not thinking how vital that is in hacking into more sensitive accounts like credit card and banking.
  • Bing and beyond: How Microsoft is attacking 'social search'

    I'm here to confirm just how wonderful Bing is. Bing doesn't spy on you, gives you relevant search results, allows reward points, and lets you be social. I always set the default search to Bing whenever I'm using a PC whether its my own or someone else's.
    • question

      so when bing releases the inevitable google-now clone (lets say its called "bing-me") for windows phone won't they have to be 'spying' on you to implement such a system?
      • bing-me

        oh yeah baby - give it to me, bing!
    • Nothing to fear

      I'd be shocked to learn that Microsoft had a higher standard of ethics than its competitors. That would put it at a devastating disadvantage.

      Of course Loverock believes that Microsoft walks on water and was immaculately conceived so maybe they are the paragon of virtue that he professes.
      • @Astringent

        This is an off topic comment. Made it out of curiosity.

        From What I understand, the article is about Microsoft and Bing. And all of you guys are talking about Loverock Davidson, a fan of MS.

        May I know why you guys do it that way? I mean, people have enough rights to be a fan of a company of their choice right? Don't you think it's just plain childish?
  • If you're interested in ...

    ... Microsoft's work on Graph databases and search, Mary Jo's piece from last year is worth a read, as is Hanselman's podcast where he interviewed Haixun Wang - it's a great discussion about a fascinating subject:
  • MJF have you tried it? If you keep youre fb friends disconnected how

    do you know if they would or would not provide any value? Are you're interests very different from theirs or have you been indiscriminate in adding fb "friends" :)
    Johnny Vegas
  • Ah yes, bing...

    The search engine you end up with when someone's malware sets your default search engine to it. Its at least a good indicator that you have some malware to root out.
    • LOL

      That's funny ;)
    • Speaking of malware...

      "Microsoft Security Essentials Fails Antivirus Certification Test For Second Time In A Row"
  • Facebook looks central to this anti Google strategy

    Integration into IOS and extra co-operation with Microsoft make Facebook another chief suspect in the anti-Google conspiracy.

    Might work for their cash flow long time but it certainly gets them easy deals with Apple and Microsoft.
  • Facebook looks central to this anti Google strategy

    Integration into IOS and extra co-operation with Microsoft make Facebook another chief suspect in the anti-Google conspiracy.

    Might work for their cash flow long time but it certainly gets them easy deals with Apple and Microsoft.