Search and Social get engaged – Bing and Facebook announce search partnership

by Peter Young on October 13, 2010 · 1 comment

Interesting news coming out of the US tonight with Facebook announcing a eye-opening partership with Microsoft’s Bing search engine. Whilst we have got used to Google announcing a number of improvements during the course of the last 12 months – such as the recent Google Instant announcement – we haven’t heard alot from Bing until now…..

The Facebook relationship is interesting for a number of reasons

  1. Google can’t quickly reproduce this
  2. Facebook represents a far bigger potential audience set than Twitter – which is currently integrated into Google’s real time search results.
  3. This would appear to be a reasonably sized step into the socially integrated search engine – something I guess we are expecting more from with

Whilst many in the industry would suggest this is by no means a Google killer its a reasonable step in the right direction particular in the US where the Bing market share is far higher than here in the UK or in Europe. It should be added the integration of Facebook is mere usage of data rather than full scale integration of Facebook into Bing.

It should be noted that for any of this to work you need to integrate your Facebook account into Bing. Bing becomes the latest site to make use of Facebook Instant Personalisation, effectively this means if you’re logged into Facebook, when you arrive at Bing, you should see a message telling you that it is going to personalize your experience based on your Facebook profile. It should be noted that Bing works perfectly fine without Facebook, and both companies stress that using Facebook personalization is totally optional.

The results themselves appear prominently within the mainstream results highlighted below (This is where I am going to have to use reference to some of Danny Sullivan’s very good post over at Search Engine Land, as this would appear limited in rollout to US users at present – certainly I am logged into both Facebook and Bing and not seeing much apart from the traditional integration)

Source: Search Engine Land

Source: Search Engine Land

From the analysis done by Danny, results would appear to be based on the responses within your social network – however much of this is still open to debate.

Its interesting in itself that Facebook have decided to partner with Bing rather than Google – and even more so I would suggest are the quotes by Mark Zuckerberg himself:

“The thing that makes Microsoft a great partner for us is that they really are the underdog here, and because of that, they’re in a structural position where they’re incentivized to just go all-out and innovate,” said Zuckerberg, via webcast. “And when you’re an incumbent in an area, no matter how smart you are, there’s just always this tension between trying to innovate and push new things, and trying to preserve what you have. And we’ve never felt that with Microsoft.”

As we mentioned earlier, this is by no means a Google killer. It is however a big step in the right direction in my opinion and in Facebook I think Bing have the perfect partner, certainly given Google’s recent behaviour I can’t help going with them may have been a mistake. The Facebook data is not used to influence the search results (at present) and is merely at present used to enhance the results than influence them – they leave that to the other 1000 factors that influence Bing.

Where Google go from here – I think its wait and see time. Whether this has any impact on their plans for – again one will see. As I have said before though – more competition for Google is only a good thing….

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