Microsoft Friends Facebook for More Social Search

Search Alliance to Bring Friends' Opinions, Preferences Into Bing Search Results

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Facebook has deepened its relationship with Microsoft with a search partnership that will incorporate your social connections' opinions and preferences into Bing search results.

Using Facebook's "Instant Personalization" system, Bing results now recognize a searcher's friends and pull in publicly available information such as "likes" and posted links. Searches for a restaurant or a movie, for example, could include recommendations, "likes" or links from friends, whose profile pictures and names will appear. These "social results" are initially appearing in a separate module on the page but soon will be grouped with the main search results.

Conscious of past dust-ups over privacy, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made it clear during an announcement at Microsoft's Mountain View, Calif., campus that Bing will only get information that's been made publicly available by users, who will have the ability to disable Bing in their privacy settings. Bing will ask its users in a pop-up window if they'd like to connect Facebook to Bing.

The move will help Bing further differentiate itself from Google and extend Facebook's social graph into search results. "We are not about the blue links anymore," said Microsoft Senior VP Yusuf Mehdi, on hand with Online Services President Qi Lu. "We are about visual search, where the whole concept of links go away."

The deal also deepens Facebook's relationship with Microsoft, which sold display ads on Facebook and made an investment in the company. And while Mr. Zuckerberg said Facebook would work with multiple players in social search, he explained why he started with Microsoft instead of Google, Facebook's neighbor in Silicon Valley.

"The thing that makes Microsoft the ideal partner for us is they really are the underdog," Mr. Zuckerberg said. "The are incentivized to go out and innovate. When you are the incumbent there is a balance between preserving what you have and trying to innovate."

Here's the press conference and demo, recorded earlier:

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