Bing Ups the Ante Against Facebook Graph Search

News surrounding Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) Graph Search has had Yelp (NYSE:YELP) sweating off share value this week, and now an update from Bing puts Yelp in even greater danger of becoming irrelevant, while also casting a shadow on Facebook’s news.

Facebook and Yelp

When word came out about Facebook implementing a search function that operated similarly to Yelp’s social-based search, the implications for Yelp became quite serious. Facebook’s Graph Search is intended to allow Facebook users to find information on various subjects, as it relates to their Facebook friends. An example: if Jimmy is interested in a restaurant but has never eaten there before and wonders whether it’s any good, he could use the search tool to see if any of his Facebook friends has gone there and mentioned it on Facebook.

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The problem for Yelp is that the information Facebook users can look up has significant overlaps with that information current Yelp users might be looking up, and Facebook has the added benefit of a global, overwhelmingly massive user-base, which could immediately begin sourcing the information for searches, making its service more effective and its recommendations more personalized. Fortunately for Yelp, Mark Zuckerberg has said Graph Search will take years to polish, so Yelp should have time to adjust its platform to meet demand…

Here’s how Bing comes in…

Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Bing search engine has become a bit of a joke in some arenas, trumped by Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) ubiquity, but it does have one sizable trick up its sleeve: What Facebook is trying to do with Graph Search, Bing is already doing — at least, to some degree. If Bing users grant the search engine access to their Facebook accounts, it can include data from Facebook in its search results, including photos, likes, and more. After Facebook announced Graph Search, an update from Bing boasted 5 times more Facebook-drawn content to be included in Bing search results, adding status updates, comments, and shared links into the mix.

So, Bing’s strategy for staying on top of Graph Search is essentially to be Graph Search, while also offering that socially-based search functionality with a number of other social networks, like Google+. The questions now: how will users respond, and with whom will they side?

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