We’ve blogged in the past about the impact social networking is going to have on search in the future. Gazing into our crystal ball, we’ve envisioned how Twitter might impact real-time search for time sensitive information and how Facebook’s social graph could personalize search results for each individual.
That second piece took a big step forward this week as Facebook and Microsoft announced their four-year deal to deliver social search through Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
In the hunt to deliver the ideal results through a search engine, this allows Bing to personalize your search results to you based on your Facebook friends. The thought is, if you’re searching for a restaurant, show, game, movie or even a physician, the normal tools that search engines use to order the results are probably less important than direct endorsements made by people you know.
How does Bing, or Facebook for that matter, know what you and your friends like? That’s the role of that little “Like” button you’ve probably noticed popping up all over the Web. If you visit a page with a “Like” button you will be able to see if your Facebook friends have already “Liked” that same page. Bing is getting access to that information to optimize the search experience.
So what does it mean for your hospital? Start getting Facebook “Like” buttons integrated throughout your site, including on your physician profiles.
What’s the impact for you as a consumer? It may be time to re-evaluate being Facebook friends with that peculiar uncle who wears the lime green sport coat. You may not want his “Likes” coming up in your searches. As a consumer, it may be time to re-evaluate being Facebook friends with that crazy uncle who wears the lime green sport coat. You don’t want his pages coming up in your searches.