In an early blog post we spoke about Google’s upcoming privacy policy changes and the move towards providing a more complete user experience with personalised searching. Well, not one to be outdone, Bill Gates’ men over at Microsoft Bing have now introduced their own take on user friendly searches with a new feature called Linked Pages.

What Linked Pages allows you to do is pick out the specific website links that are most relevant, or favoured by you, so that when a friend searches for your name they can instantly find pages about you and not about some other person in a far away land with the same name. A snippet from the Microsoft Blog sums up the intentions of the new feature:

“Whether it’s an old friend, a former classmate or even you, searching for people is one of the most common things we do on the web. 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. Beginning today, with Linked Pages, we’re letting you link websites related to you in search results”

Taking on the might of Google Search, plus Your World is always going to prove a tough task for Microsoft, however, they do have a major ally in the new venture, Facebook.

Users of the Linked Pages feature are required to be logged in through their Facebook ID in order to start personalising their internet links. Having Facebook on board certainly adds some weight to the new tool which is currently in the beta testing phase.

“So how does it work?” I hear you ask. Well, by first going to the Linked Pages site at Bing, users will be asked to login via Facebook, permission will then be needed for Bing to post on your Facebook timeline. Once permission is granted you are free to begin adding links, these can be anything related to you in anyway, for instance, schools, employers, business websites, personal blogs, home town, organisations and anything else that takes your fancy and you feel worthy of your friends viewing. Actually linking to a page couldn’t be easier; all it takes is a simple click of the big “Link Me” button under each search result. Linking to the wrong results or removing a link that is no longer relevant is also straight forward and can be done through Facebook and Bing. As the user, you have full control over what webpages you are linked to, and once a link is removed, only you can relink that page.

Of course, the feature is not very well suited to those that object to Facebook. Internet users with various online preferences worth linking, but without a Facebook account will miss out on the benefits of Linked Pages, however much they may like it and this may drive them towards Google. There are rumours that the Facebook link is not a permanent one and that Bing will eventually end its relationship with the social network and used the Linked Pages data to expand on a network of their own called Socl. This may help it to appeal to the Facebook haters, but may also alienate many of the current users. Socl, however, is currently a long way off, so for now the future is definitely with Facebook ID and the hope of capitalising on some of the sites 845 million active users.

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