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Facebook and Bing join forces in Social Search

Today, at Microsoft HQ, a partnership was formed between Facebook and Bing that will enhance the overall search experience and create a social experience that integrates seamlessly with the Bing search platform. Qi Lu, Microsoft president of the Online Service Group, emphasized the role that the social network is the decision making ability of the Bing search engine. According the Lu, the social aspect of search will play a pivotal role in making web search a more personal, efficient and accurate experience.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEE of Facebook, took the stage and said that Facebook is interested in working with “scrappy underdogs” to join forces and combine subject expertise and smart social tools. Microsoft, said Zuckerberg, is the current “scrappy underdog” of the search world, and their position is ideal for a partnership with Facebook.

Going forward, searching on Facebook will display Bing results as well as Facebook results. Unfortunately, not everybody will want to use Facebook as their primary search tool. The answer to that was Bing Social. It integrates Facebook data with Bing, allowing social updates to be included in your web searches. Today’s announcement is mainly an integration of Bing Social into the main search page. Facebook results now show up, sorted by relevancy like any other link, throughout the main search page. For example, searching for a restaurant will display the typical top five in the Bing search, but will also display that a few of your friends liked a different restaurant as well. The same thing happens with movies, and other content affected by your social network.

Bing People Search is also updated in this collaboration. If you search for someone’s name, and that person has a common or popular name, you’ll now find the right person if that person is connected to you somehow in the Facebook Social Graph. Profile information is also brought into search, as you can seamlessly use Facebook tools, such as “mutual friends,” directly from the Bing search results page.

Notifications show up as a small pop-up in the corner of your browser, but it was emphasized that you’re immediately given the option to opt out of this capability.

While this may just seem like the answer to Google’s integration of Twitter into its search results, this seems like a much more robust platform and integration as far as social search goes. As Google and Facebook fight over control of the Internet’s data, a key partnership with Microsoft could prove to be an important stepping stone, giving Facebook a leg up to continue fighting that fight.

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