As we've seen from some of the previews of the new layout, search is becoming more of a focal point for Facebook, and today's announcement seems to back that up. Microsoft and Facebook announced this morning an expanded partnership, making Bing the default search engine for Facebook's more than 400 million users worldwide.

The two companies also came to a "mutual decision" to allow Facebook to take over sole responsibility for advertisements on the social network, a move that we see as part of Facebook's continual progression toward becoming an ad provider.

Facebook's Slide Into Advertising?

Facebook and Microsoft had entered into a deal last August to start serving up Microsoft ads, but Facebook has made several moves lately that look to protect its valuable stake in advertising. On Wednesday, the site rolled out a new set of terms for ad and offer providers, increasing accountability and further clarifying how user information gathered through apps could not be shared for advertising.

Facebook has also told us that the company's recent moves to usher more user content into the light of day and outside of privacy settings are motivated in part by a desire to improve and grow advertising. Furthermore, the company is uniquely positioned, with its Facebook Connect preferred by users by a margin of 2-to-1, to offer tailored advertising to third-party sites using the mass of information it gathers daily on its users. And with Facebook moving into the full-featured webmail game, it may soon be able to compete with Google with an all-encompassing grasp on your information.

Back To That Search Engine Part...

As for the deal with Bing, the search engine had already been providing search capabilities for users in the U.S., but now will expand its services worldwide. The announcement also said that the search engine would provide results "beyond a set of links, including richer answers combined with tools that help customers make faster, smarter decisions."

By increasing the capabilities of the on-site search, Facebook is hoping to become your one and only portal to the web. If Facebook can get its users to perform on-site searches, it can not only keep you on the site longer, but like Google, it can gather even more information about its users through their searches. This stuff is advertising gold.

While some argue that the difficulty here is that it's hard to monetize Facebook's data compared to Google's - Facebook know's you care about Haiti, while Google knows you're in the market for a Lexus - this move goes directly at the heart of that problem. By making search a focal point of the site, Facebook is looking to gather the type of data it knows it can leverage in the advertising world.