Bing and Facebook partnered last week to create a socially enhanced search experience for internet users, and now it seems Google is trying to secure itself a place in the social search market. The search giant appears to be testing new „Shared By“ and „Recent Update“ elements in its result pages.

Not everyone can see the social data around search results, but several internet users have posted images of new social stats. It seems web queries come with Google News results that boast a „Shared By“ tab, indicating how many social users have posted a specific story. Clicking this tab apparently directs users to Google Realtime search results for a particular article.

Google is also offering new „Recent Updates“ insight for hot searches. For instance, a search for „chrome 7,“ currently one of Google’s Hot Topics, produces a Recent Update bar under the first result indicating the number of „updates from Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and more“ (26 updates at press time).

Brafton has reported that Google has been trying to get social for quite some time now – from Google Me buzz to the company’s CEO stating the search engine wants Facebook data.

While these developments seem to point toward a more social search experience for Google users, this differs from the Bing and Facebook partnership in that searchers are getting info on the social media landscape as a whole – not insight on which results their friends recommend.

Nonetheless, these social tools from Google – and the Bing/Facebook alliance – should be good news to marketers. Any social sharing insight in search can give brands a way to assess the efficacy of their content and boost visibility on the web. As Brafton reported last week, a new study from CNN’s POWNAR (the power of news and recommendation) shows there is higher engagement with recommended news than randomly discovered online content.