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

See how your TechRepublic peers answered this question: Does augmenting search with social media bring better results?

On October 15, 2010, I asked the readers of the TechRepublic Microsoft Windows Blog three poll questions on this topic:

Does augmenting search with social media bring better results?

The poll was derived from the announcement that Facebook and Microsoft were forming a search results partnership that I described this way:

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.

I was, and remain, skeptical about the merits of this approach. Perhaps it is because I do not use Facebook like many younger users do. But I don't think many of the searches I do will benefit from friendly input.

However, there are others, like Amber Mac, that recently endorsed the concept of social media-supplemented searches on Leo Laporte's This Week in Tech webcast. They think their friends can help weed out bad search results by providing firsthand information.

The results of our poll show that most responding TechRepublic members are not convinced that the idea has merit. But according to a recent Sixty Minutes feature, Facebook is committed to the idea, so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. Are you keeping an open mind about it?

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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.