Costa Rica Used as Example for New Feature on Microsoft’s Bing Search posted by on May 11, 2012
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Many Internet users turned to Microsoft’s Bing search engine yesterday, entered Costa Rica in the search bar, and checked the results presented by what the tech giant called “the most significant update to Bing since we launched three years ago.”

Microsoft chose Costa Rica as an example of Bing’s new powerful Sidebar feature. Sidebar is a direct response to Google’s “Search, Plus Your World” feature. Both Google and Bing are deeply interested in the massive amount of user-generated content that has been accumulating since the Web 2.0 paradigm and the online social networking phenomenon arrived. While Bing is still taking small nibbles at Google’s lion’s share of the search engine market, true social media integration is the latest battlefield of the war over search engine supremacy.

Bing is currently rolling out a revamped version of its fledgling search engine, which has managed to capture some market share from Google since its debut back in 2009. Just how much of that share is up for debate, since the figures differ greatly. The latest report from Stat Owl indicated that 8.4 percent of searches went to Bing in January 2012, while more than 80 percent went to Google.

The New Social Media Sidebar from Bing

Microsoft is betting heavily on Facebook integration, and this new release of Bing proves it. On the official Bing blog post announcing the release, Bing vice presidents Derrick Connell and Harry Shum explained the social media features of Sidebar:

“For example, if you’re searching for diving spots in Costa Rica, with the new Bing, you may discover that one of your Facebook friends knows a great spot, based on photos from their last trip to Costa Rica that they shared on Facebook. Or you might find a friend who lives in Costa Rica based on his or her Facebook profile.”

For the record, this is not the first time that Costa Rica has been associated with Internet technology debuts. The Costa Rica Star has previously reported on our country being a backdrop for the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet commercials, as well as being featured during the product release of the new Apple iPad.

Bing will not limit social media results to Facebook. Sidebar will be separated into sections like Friends Who Might Know and People Who Know. The latter section will pull relevant information from authoritative and influential sources and people in social media networks like Blogger, FourSquare, LinkedIn, Quora, Twitter, and even Google+. This is also the section where Bing users will likely see data pulled from the Facebook Timeline of The Costa Rica Star when they search for information related to our country.

Another Sidebar section that may prove popular is the Activity Feed. This is very similar to the Spark feature of Google+, except that the information shared comes from Bing. This feed will be updated along with Facebook, and will feature posts, questions and queries that your social network has chosen to share with others.

Bing is rolling out many more features, including mobile integration, and the announcement is very timely: the $98 billion Facebook initial public offering (IPO) is only days away. Having Microsoft as a search partner will certainly help Facebook’s hotly-anticipated IPO, an event that some Wall Street analysts are derisively calling “Dot Com Bubble 2.0″.

You can sign up to test the new Bing here (note that you may have to use a proxy server as this service does not appear to be available in Costa Rica, yet).

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