Category: Google+

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BING! A great social idea.

All site links from this page lead to “Bing.com” – minor glitch, working to figure it out. To navigate the rest of the site please type MerlinUWard.com in your browser :-)

Bing launched their “new Bing” this morning. It’s intriguing – the promise was a better integration of social into search. It was difficult to imagine, but they’ve come through and in an amazing way! The site starts off introducing you to a new dashboard that has an obvious Facebook information feed on the right.

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This feed actually updates with your friend’s information based on searches performed it includes, posts, pictures and page likes. A simple search like “restaurant” gleamed great results on the socials side.



It even produced a twitter results for “experts” around my search that you might want to know.

Pages that your friends have also liked or posted on Facebook get a “+1 style”, “thumbs-up” signaling you that these are recommended.

Now for the most amazing part! While performing your search you can simultaneously post to Facebook to ask friend directly, event tag them. Watch:
<a href='http://video.msn.com/?vid=e0aaf4ff-24c7-42a0-875f-40917489ea1b&#038;mkt=en-us&#038;src=SLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='Search with friends'>Video: Search with friends</a>

Overall this social and search experience was great and certainly an improvement from old Bing (and Google). Granted this social experience is limited to Facebook social, but it is that largets site and offers much broader reach in social that Google’s G+ integration. I’m still exploring the validity of the search results, but it looks as though Google.com may no longer be the homepage standard.

The Copycat Battle

And so it begins. By now you’ve notice that Facebook implemented changes recently. Changes that most likely annoy you and unfortunately closely resemble Google+. For instance:

The “Top Stories”: content curated based on the amount of feedback it receives, which is identical to how G+ formats it’s home stream. You have 550+ friends and now you can see the highlights of what most of them comment on. Unfortunately this means you’re going to get Top Stories of people who you follow that get a lot of comments without the convenience of a true timeline or relevance based on how recently you interacted with those friends (which is how it used to work).


The side bar updates: The timeline of information you’re missing from your stream, but displayed in such a way it almost impossible to follow and doesn’t distinguish between the type of update. Not to mention it also seems to mimic what’s immediately to the left of it.




Now, if someone posted a fun song you want to listen to while you browse the rest of the stream…. well you just can’t do it anymore – that is of course if you can even recognize it rich media that was shared.




It’s clear that Facebook has tried to show they can quickly reinvent themselves in the face of the immediate threat of Google+. However, the audiences on each network are very different. Most Facebook users still turn away from G+. So, why is FB trying to display content like Google+?

Are you happy with the changes? Comment and share your thoughts!

G+ Circles, Keep You Guessing

In the seemingly never-ending search for the solution to curate relevant content, Circles get close. Circles are a great concept, but have you noticed that when you look at your G+ stream it look very similar to all your other feeds? Even when you create categorized Circles like “photography”, “social media gurus”, “googlers’, the streams only hint towards topical content, but the steam still has a mishmash of personal posts, pictures and topical posts. It’s still a bit of everything.

We’ve been using Circles much like Twitter lists to curate our intake of content to specific subjects. But Google also allows us to push content to the people we’ve put in Circles. This is nice for privacy situations when you want to post content or news to only your closest friends, but from a business stand point there is a flaw. If the people you put in circles are not following you back, it’s unlikely they will ever see the content you post to that circle. Only if they happen to be looking at their “incoming” stream will they see the content, but they still won’t have context for that content because they don’t know what Circle you’ve put them in!

This is a big problem. If you’re someone who wants posts relevant content to specific audiences you’re going to have to hope that they have time and care about every single person that adds them to a Circle. And if you’ve even spent some time on G+ you know that a lot of strangers are adding you to Circles – Circles that you have no idea are about or what context the person wants to connect with you on.

There is a solution and although it completely flips Circles 180 degrees, they are still Circles. This is how Circles should work.

First: people add you to a Circle, be it categorized by relationship or topic.

Second: Now when you create a post the options that appear are based on the Circles you’ve been placed in – not created. If someone has put you in their “Marketing” or “Iguanas on Ice” Circle, you now have the option to post to “Marketing” or “Iguana’s on Ice”.

Third: When you add people to circles, the circle options are now curated based on existing Circles across G+ – much like Facebook Interests are generated. This creates consistency across G+ Circles. Yes, you can still create “Iguanas on Ice” or “Muffin Tasters” and the people you put in those Circles can choose to post there. Based on the number of people who add you to specific Circle those Circles would be highlighted, weighted or recognized differently.

Click to Enlarge

Listen to the Explanation

With this Circle system people will have a context of what content they expected from you – also what people think you’re influential about – which gives you a better opportunity to post relevant content. When you add people to specific circles you will also know what to expect from them based on the Circle you’ve put them in. And before you ask: What happens if someone adds me to “Family” and I don’t want them to see my posts. With the new system you have the option of accepting or declined additions to Circles created for private audiences. “Circles of Trust” so to speak.

Unfortunately this is not how Circles works (yet?)