Microsoft and Facebook team up for social search

14 Oct 2010

Facebook and Microsoft have formed a partnership to make search engine Bing more social in order to get an edge over Google.

Bing will give users the ability to see data posted on the search engine from Facebook – such as users’ “likes” and preferences – in order to provide more relevant results.

Users can see relevant “liked” and shared items from friends for movies, places and products alongside search engine results.

The data from Facebook will determine how prominently these will appear.

“It isn’t just about the common connections between data and the offline world, it’s about the connections between people,” said Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice-president for online business at Microsoft.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said this move deepened the company’s partnership with Microsoft.

“The thing that makes Microsoft a great partner for us is that they really are the underdog here,” Zuckerberg told reporters at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley offices.

“Because of that they are in a structural position where they’re incentivised to go all out and innovate.”

The partnership sees the two companies form a united front against Google. Google’s search engine still has a considerable lead over Bing and Google has made attempts to rival Facebook by strengthening its social networking offerings.

This isn’t the first time the two have worked together. After Microsoft paid $240m for a 1.6pc stake in Facebook, the companies have introduced advertisements on Facebook and have incorporated Bing Maps into Facebook Places.

“Google owned the old web, the content-centric web. Facebook has early leadership in the new web, the social web,” said Ray Valdes, an analyst at research firm Gartner.

“This is the real long-term conflict. Microsoft, in that sense, is a secondary player in this new battle.”