Microsoft and Google are each taking steps to extend the social networking capabilities in their search services, with the goal of making it easier to find or share useful results.
Bing search results will now include tips and recommendations from Foursquare users, Microsoft said, while Google is testing a feature that lets users share a link in Google+ directly from their search results page.
The developments show the companies continuing to compete over how best to integrate social content with search. Bing continues to partner with existing social networks, while Google continues to build on its own.
Bing will display tips and recommendations shared publically to Foursquare about businesses or other locations relevant to a user's search query and location, Microsoft said. The search engine displays the Foursquare content in its social sidebar, which launched this spring. The tips and recommendations will be included in the "people who know" section, which doesn't require the Bing user to be signed in to his or her social networks.
"This is only the beginning of Foursquare integration," a spokesman said.
Google also began testing a "share" button next to search results that allows users to post links to their Google+ profiles without leaving the results page. It also lets users comment on links they share through a small pop-up window that appears when they clock the share button.
The feature was flagged on Twitter by a search marketer in the UK and reported by Search Engine Land. Google's Sean Liu later confirmed it on Google+. He called it an "experiment" and said it currently appears for users searching in English.
The "share" button would replace the "+1" button currently included with Google search results. The "share" feature would display the content more prominently on a person's Google+ profile. It sends the link to a user's main content stream, whereas the +1 feature sends it to a list of +1 content in the Google+ user's profile.