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Microsoft apes Google social search master plan

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Every now and again Microsoft comes along to remind us of two things: it's still a big name in online search and remains very cosy with the world's biggest social network, Facebook.

Meanwhile, Google has been busy injecting its once gleaming search engine with far to much Web2.0rrhea, by adding what it describes as more "social results" to its flagship service.

For some time now Microsoft has similarly - albeit clumsily - been making Bing more "social" with the help of its good friend Facebook, which the company has an exclusive deal with to provide its search tech within Mark Zuckerberg's silo.

Redmond bought a $240m stake in the network way back in 2007.

The software maker has now debuted a thing called "Linked Pages" in the US that relies heavily on Facebook to connect the social dots to Bing in an online world that seemingly makes no mention whatsoever of Google.

Microsoft's search engine was first given the Facebook treatment in October 2010, which meant that personalised results were fed into Bing based on the opinions of "friends" on the dominant social network.

"With people search being such a high volume pastime, we're taking it a step further letting you have more control in how you show up on Bing," said Microsoft in a blog post penned by its social search wonk Ian Lin yesterday.

"[W]ith Linked Pages, we’re letting you link websites related to you in search results. Now your friends looking for you online can find what you want them to find. You can also link pages to your friends to help them shine on Bing as well."

In order to access the function via Microsoft's search engine users need to log in with their Facebook ID, the company said, and then grant Bing "permission to post" to the network.

All of which is pretty similar to how Google is using its latest social network - Google+ - to slot "social results" directly into its search engine.

One bloke on Microsoft's Bing blog post questioned the company's social search tactic.

"Why on earth is functionality for linking together different online presences tied to one particular one (Facebook)? Means it's completely useless for those of us who do have multiple online presences, but object to Facebook," said Gavin Greig.

The poor chap clearly didn't get the memo about that quaint old word "portal". ®

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