Bing is putting social gaming into search results pages, letting users play a title without ever having to visit its specialty Bing Games site, or the publisher's hosted game page on social networks like Facebook.
The first social title to be offered with this functionality is Happy Island from social gaming company Crowdstar. When a Bing user searches for the game in Bing, the full playable title will show up as an embedded result on the top of the page using technology from Sibblingz. Users can then play through the first few levels before being asked to log-in with their Facebook credentials.
Bing's big push lately has been to speed up user tasks--be it hunting for a movie time, music lyrics, or images. What Microsoft has done to increase that speed is to change how the results from these kinds of searches get displayed, so that you can get into deeper threads of information before you ever arrive on destination sites. During the company's Bing Search Summit earlier this week, Microsoft said it was up to more than 400 of these specialty "visual search experiences."
Microsoft has not said whether additional social titles from other developers will get the same kind of top-level search treatment the company introduced as part of a platform update earlier this year. But based on the company's relationship with developer Crowdstar, and the two companies' efforts with the recently-launched Microsoft Game Hub, it's safe to assume others will be on the way.
Correction at 9:10 a.m. PDT: Playing games from inside of Bing's search result pages was launched as part of a platform update back in June. The implementation of Happy Island is the first social gaming title to be offered in this capacity.