Klout and Bing Try to Bridge the Gap Between Online and ‘Real World’ Influence

By Cameron Scott 

social influence, social media, social networks, search engines, bing, google, klout, kredKlout, purveyor of a social networking influence score, and Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, announced a partnership today that will display a user’s score in response to Bing queries about him or her and will factor in such queries as part of generating his or her score.

It is the first time a social influence rater has tapped a search engine as a social signal. Google has taken the opposite approach, using social influence on Google+ and YouTube to improve people’s search rankings. Bing has made a point of segregating social search results from the algorithmically generated Web results.

“When you think about it, this makes perfect sense.┬áSomeone who is famous or influential on a topic is far more likely to be searched for than someone who isn’t,” Bing said in a blog post.

Lynn Fox, head of communications at Klout, explained how the information sharing will work.

“When you connect your Klout account to Bing, this helps us understand Bing search data in aggregate. Search data is a reflection of real world influence. It does not currently factor directly into your Klout score. Search activity that is connected to Bing is helping us understand influence in aggregate at this point, and eventually it will factor into people’s Klout scores,” she said.

Klout also began rolling out support for Instagram accounts today. A user’s popular photos on the social network will now appear among his or her influential “moments” on Klout.

The score provider now taps 13 different social platforms to gauge influence. But users’ scores depend only on the networks they link to Klout, and users are not penalized for linking a limited number of accounts, Fox said.