Poll: Does augmenting search with social media bring better results?

The TechRepublic Windows Blog member poll question: Does augmenting search with social media bring better results?

I consider myself to be a bit of a technology geek. I am the host for several technical-centric blogs on TechRepublic, I have performed many Cracking Opens, and I pretty much have every electronic gadget worth having. I believe technology is what will eventually mitigate global warming, cure many diseases, and generally keep society from spiraling into oblivion.

But I am also entirely certain I do not want Facebook influencing everything I do on the Internet. And I am almost certain that I do not want or need Facebook modifying my search results, on Bing or anywhere else. I think this is a technological innovation I want to avoid.

Over on our sister-site, ZDNet, Sam Diaz blogged about the public announcement made last week that Facebook and Microsoft were partnering to "bring a new feel to search results on Bing." The idea is fairly simple: search a topic on Bing and the results will be modified to reflect the "likes" of your Facebook friends. If you search for Pizza restaurants, the results will be presented with your friend's preferences displayed more prominently.

At first glance, that sounds like a good idea, but then I remember my most active Facebook friends. For example, one of my friends is my 14-year-old niece. She is a big Facebook user, and she tends to "like" just about everything that comes through her Facebook universe. I also have friends on Facebook who live far away from Louisville, Kentucky. Will their favorite Chicago pizza joint be in the results now?

Perhaps I am being too cynical here, so I'll ask the TechRepublic members: Does augmenting search with social media bring better results? Is merging search with social media a good thing or a bad thing, or will it really matter? Do you trust your Facebook friends to give you advice?

I admit I barely use Facebook, so maybe that is where my skepticism comes from, but I am not convinced this will be better. Are you?

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By Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.