Facebook and Bing just announced a new search partnership during a joint event at Microsoft's San Francisco offices. With this new partnership, Bing wants to take personalized search to the next level by tapping into the knowledge of your friends on Facebook. Microsoft looks at this as "the beginning of how search gets better because of your friends." According to Microsoft, "search is not just about the connections between data but also about the connection between people."
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Among the new features that Microsoft will launch today are Facebook results for name queries (4% of all queries on Bing are name queries) and personalized results based on what your friends liked on Facebook. Thanks to this, you can now see what restaurants your friends liked on sites like OpenTable, for example, or if your friends liked a certain movie. Microsoft will roll these new feature out later today.
The new personalized search results are based on what your friends "liked" across the Web. These results will appear in a box on the search results page. Results for name queries will now highlight people in your social network in a separate box. Thanks to this, results for common names like "Bob Smith" will now highlight people in your social network or within your friends' networks.
In the near future, Bing also hopes to be able to find topic experts among your friends and highlight relevant search results from sites and stories that they liked.
At the beginning of the event, Microsoft's president of its Online Services Group Qi Lu noted that Bing wants to go beyond just the basic search experience that today's Internet users are familiar with. With this new partnership, Bing will be able to offer better search results for name queries, for example. According to Lu, by being able to connect search to your social graph, Bing will be able take search to the next level, and today's announcement is only the beginning of this new partnership.
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg called it "one of the most interesting partnerships we have done recently." Based on their past relationship, Zuckerberg noted that Microsoft is a good partner for Facebook. Facebook likes to work with underdogs (like Bing) who want to innovate and "push new things."
So far, these new capabilities in Bing look quite similar to Google Social, which also integrates results from your Twitter and Google Buzz friends on the search results page.