As internet users continue to spend more and more of their online time using social networks, one thing to consider is how well search engines have integrated 'search' within sites like Facebook, Myspace and Linkedin, to name a few...

For Google to make money, they need distribution and traditionally powering search functionality for publishing sites, portals and e-commerce sites across the web was a good way of getting in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

connecting search to social networks

With the shift on for how users are actually using the internet and what types of sites they are spending time on, it's important that the major search engines think about expanding their distribution in to social networks and making themselves part of 'the conversation' and integrating their application accordingly.

Microsoft is pushing their Bing search engine in an effort to steal market share from Google, and a recent initiative has them inviting Facebook fans to test a new program called Bing & Ping, which enables them to share their Bing search results with friends on various social networks, as well as email.

Results include restaurant recommendations, local movie times, flight statuses and sports results for matches and games.

"Say you use Bing's Instant Answers feature to check the score of the game, and you notice that your buddy's favorite team has just been beaten pretty handily. Say you want to 'delicately' remind him of their less-than-stellar moves with the ball. Bing & Ping empowers you to share that data with him on your social network of choice."
-- Nicholas Kerr of Bing

Those that wish to try the feature must become fans of Bing's Facebook fan page. Once invited into the program, a Windows Live ID must be provided before instructions are given to begin. Interesting application, but the Windows Live ID bit, might deter people from using it.

If Google is going to continue their dominant position in the search space, they will need to continue to evolve their distribution efforts and integrated their application in as many social networks possible. Seems to be the only way that Microsoft can displace Google as much to date has been well established.

Ron Kunitzky, an expert in strategic business affiliations and partnerships and founder of Geyser Marketing Group " the Partnership Marketing Firm, and has successfully brokered partnership marketing programs for companies as varied as Coastal Contacts, Dell Computer, NASDAQ, and 1-800-GOT-JUNK?.