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Microsoft's Role in Facebook's New Search Graph

In his opening monologue last night, Jimmy Kimmel took note of Facebook's announcement yesterday that it intends to use the mounds of data it has collected from its 1 billion users to enable a new form of search.

The new Search Graph, Kimmel pointed out, provides customized search results by incorporating data from your network of Facebook friends. "So you can ask questions like 'who are my friends that live in San Francisco?' Which by the way if you have to ask that, you don't have any friends in San Francisco," Kimmel quipped. "It's an interesting new feature. Soon you'll be able to find anything you want on Facebook, except for the thousands of hours of your life you lost going on Facebook."

All kidding aside, Facebook is hoping that Search Graph will steer users away from the widely used Google search engine. And apparently acknowledging there's life outside of Facebook, it will continue to use Microsoft's Bing to find information on the Web, which it has done since 2010, as noted by Redmond columnist and All About Microsoft blogger Mary Jo Foley.

Could this Facebook integration also bolster her theory about why Microsoft is in it for the long haul with Bing? Apparently Microsoft, which was an early investor in Facebook, worked closely with the company to ensure Bing's role in extending Search Graph. In a blog post yesterday, Derrick Connell, Microsoft's corporate vice president of Bing, explained how the two work together.

"Now when you do a Web search on Facebook, the new search results page features a two-column layout with Bing-powered Web results appearing on the left-hand side overlaid with social information from Facebook including how many people like a given result," Connell explained. "On the right hand side, you will see content from Facebook Pages and apps that are related to your search."

Naturally both companies have a common goal in taking away search share from Google.

Could adding more Facebook features to Bing be in the works? Connell said, stay tuned. "Over the next several weeks our two teams will continue to experiment and innovate towards our shared vision of giving people access to the wisdom of their friends combined with the information available on the Web."

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Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 01/16/2013 at 1:14 PM


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