Could Bing Improve Its Search Results With Google +1?
Here’s a big dose of irony. Could Google +1 buttons or +1 data — which Google uses to improve its search results — come to rival Bing? Potentially.
Bing +1, Anyone?
The issue came up yesterday during Q&A following the keynote talk by Bing’s director Stefan Weitz at our SMX Sydney conference. An audience member asked if Bing might use Google’s +1 data in the way it currently uses Facebook data to reshape its results.
Maybe, Weitz replied. He deftly dodged that right now, there’s no automated way that Bing has to get that data. Even if that changes, I suspect Bing wouldn’t actually use it.
Why Google Might Cough +1 Up
Still, it is possible that Google would make the data available to others, including Bing. Indeed, Google’s pretty much painted itself into a corner where it would have to.
Consider that Google has been extremely vocal that it feels Facebook should make the social data it holds open to the web.
Facebook would argue that it does, through the Facebook Open Graph. Google would counter that there are terms that prevent it from actually tapping into that graph on an automated basis , not to mention that Facebook blocks people even exporting their friend lists to Google on a manual basis.
Now Google’s on the verge of assembling a new social graph of its own. To not seem hypocritical, Google should provide an automated way for anyone to tap into that graph, and without terms that competitors might find restrictive, in the same way that it feels limited by Facebook’s terms.
On top of that, Google has long pledged that users should be able to take all of their information to other providers. There’s a wide-range of things that can already be exported, as provided through Google’s Data Liberation Front site. If people want to export their +1 data to Bing, Google should support that, also.
I’m checking with Google if it has any comment on this. As for Bing, we already know the story there. Potentially, it would use +1 data though realistically, I suspect it wouldn’t.
Permission To Copy
Then again, recall that in March, Google complained about Bing monitoring what users do on Google to help improve Bing’s results. Bing rejected the allegations of copying but did agree that user behavior on Google, along with other search engines, was used.
Google was pretty upset over the Bing monitoring. Ironically, with +1, Google might find itself in the position of having to willingly, and at least cheerfully in public, giving some user data over to Bing.
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