Microsoft Bing is rolling out a new wave of Facebook integration across its search results starting today, tapping data from the widely used social network to show searchers which sites, news stories, movies, products and other items their friends have liked. The feature shows up as an annotation on individual search results.

For example, searching for Amazon.com on Bing now informs me that one of my Facebook friends likes a particular book about app development. Searching for San Francisco tells me which of my Facebook friends live in the area. And searching for accommodations on Whidbey Island returns a recommendation from a friend in the form of a “like” that he gave to a particular inn a while back.

It may take some getting used to, but it’s a pretty powerful tool that puts Microsoft in a strong position vs. Google’s +1 button. It’s the latest step in a broader partnership announced between Facebook and Bing last year. Microsoft is a minority shareholder in the social networking giant.

In a blog post announcing the rollout, Microsoft explains that it’s also leveraging Facebook “likes” in a broader way, by signaling when content is well-liked by a cross-section of Facebook users, even if they don’t happen to be among the searcher’s friends.

“Bing now brings the collective IQ of people to decision making, when your friends don’t have the right expertise or you’re not sure what you’re looking for,” writes, Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president for Microsoft Search, in the post. “Search is better when it’s not just based in math and algorithms, but also infused with the opinions of people. Input from the collective IQ can enable search to become a discovery tool, allowing you to benefit from the connections, inferences and ‘likes’ of it.”

The feature works on Bing when searchers have signed themselves into Facebook.

 

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