Updated 5:11 PM Aug. 30 with a note from Microsoft
Facebook users are adding a stunning 300 million new photos each and every day. So Bing just added a new way to search and browse your friends’ photos without all the clutter of status updates and friend requests.
The new feature is part of Bing’s ongoing evolution to make search more visual. Friends’ photos already show up in search sidebars when relevant, but now interested users can go straight to bing.com/friendsphotos to browse and search all their Facebook friends’ images.
I tried it, and it’s actually better at browsing than searching, but that could be your friends’ fault, not Bing’s. Many Facebook users upload images with little or no metadata, making them difficult to index for search. (Perhaps Bing could license Google’s newest technology for knowing what pictures and video contain.)
Connect Bing to Facebook, and your friends’ photos show up in a Pinterest-like stream:
Search did not work well for me; repeated attempts with “dog,” “baby,” and “beach,” among others, brought up no results. So either I am the biggest loser in the world with no friends, or my friends don’t tag their photos very well:
Update: I received the following note from a Microsoft representative about searching:
I noticed that you had some trouble getting the friends photos search to work. Since this is a new feature, it will take Bing some time to crawl all the photos; but the more you use it, the more photos will surface. Also, you might try searching for your Facebook album titles to see more pictures; and if you’ve recently changed any of your settings, you may also try logging out of Facebook on Bing and logging back in.
What I did find very useful was friend search, which allowed me to view each friend’s photos in a stream, and the default stream of all my friends’ pictures, which is a great way to get visually updated in a hurry on where your friends are and what they’re doing.
But image search? Not a winner yet.
Image credits: Bing