Facebook and Microsoft have ramped up their relationship with a scheme to combine Facebook data into search results.
In a new feature announced Wednesday, they will combine information from Facebookinto users’ search queries – for example, recommendations from friends about movies or restaurants.
“When you search for something on Bing or in web results on Facebook (powered by Bing), you'll be able to see your friends' faces next to web pages they've liked,” said Facebook CTO Bret Ryan. “So, you can lean on friends to figure out the best websites for your search.”
Microsoft’s Bing search engine will use Facebook’s “like” feature to determine the order of its results.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the move was a deepening of the company’s partnership with Microsoft – much of it apparently directed at their common foe Google.
Microsoft paid $240 million (€170 million) for a 1.6% stake in Facebook three years ago. Since then the two companies have worked together on bringing ads on Facebook and adding Bing Maps into Facebook’s location app, the New York Times said.
Despite its heavy investment in its Bing search engine, Microsoft has barely made ground on Google in the search ads market. However, Google has made little headway in the social space, despite introducing Google Buzz and opening up Gmail to allow for more sharing.
Like many Facebook innovations, the latest move flirts with users’ privacy boundaries. But Zuckerberg saidBing users won’t gain access to any information about Facebook users that is not already available to them on the site.