September 28, 2012, 2:10 PM

Bing adds Klout to search results

Microsoft’s search engine results pages now include scoring based on an individual’s social influence. 

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Bing, Microsoft Corp.’s search engine, is now featuring more information derived from social media network activity in the search results it shows consumers.

In May, Bing added what it calls a “People Who Know” feature to its social sidebar, which appears on the right side of a search engine results page. A consumer searching on the term “movies,” for example, may see the names, photos, Twitter user names and recent tweets of a handful of well-known movie critics in the space. Now that space will also include a numerical score provided by Klout Inc. Klout calculates a score between one and 100 that rates an individual’s overall social media influence. Klout says scores are calculated based on more than 400 variables, including the number of friends and followers an individual has on social networks.

Today a Bing search for “Amazon,” for example, shows the name, picture, Twitter details and Klout score of Werner Vogels, Amazon.com Inc.’s chief technology officer (80). It also shows similar details for Simone Brunuzzi, an Amazon technology evangelist who works for Amazon’s Web Services unit and has a Klout score of 70.

“This is a small step for Bing and Klout towards a very big idea: search through people,” Klout says in a blog post announcing the feature. Microsoft and Klout say Microsoft has made a “strategic investment” in Klout but it does not provide further details on what that means. “Our engineering teams will work together to expand the scope of social search and influence,” writes Bing corporate vice president Derrick Connell in a blog post.

The companies do say that Bing will provide search data to Klout that it will incorporate into its scoring algorithm. “[Consumers’] Klout profiles will also be rewarded for the frequency that they are searched on Bing,” Klout says. 

Connell says incorporating Klout into the social sidebar will help consumers using Bing connect with experts on the subjects they are searching for. 

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