Earlier today Facebook announced its own internal search engine, which it will call Graph Search. Keep in mind this is NOT a competitor to Google or Bing. The new search function is all about quickly finding information internally related to Facebook.
In Zuckerberg’s words, “You really need to just ask ‘Who are my friends in San Francisco?’ and get the answer quickly.” That’s what Graph is about. That said, Zuckerberg says that the new search system was very much built with privacy in mind as well. Okay, so what does Graph Search have to do with Windows 8 or even Microsoft for that matter? Actually it has quite a bit to do with Bing.
Microsoft has now confirmed that they are working together with the Facebook team members to create the unified search experience within Facebook.
According to Microsoft:
To the Facebook user, they will not only see useful results, but we think have serendipitous experiences. Imagine searching for Jay-Z concerts on Facebook, and not only finding Facebook content, but also web results from Bing including concert tickets, news about the tour and other web results—annotated with Facebook Likes and Shares. We think this is a powerful combination.
In other words, Graph Search will combine internal Facebook social information and combine it with Bing search technology. In a way, this is very similar to Google’s own efforts to combine its social (Google+) and search efforts.
Besides perhaps potential competitive reasons (with both Facebook and Google+ having relatively popular social networks) why did Mark Zuckerberg and team go with Bing? According to Zuckerberg, “The main thing is that when people share something on Facebook, we want to give them the ability to broadcast things, but also retract them later, and have them be removed immediately. Microsoft was more willing to do things specific to Facebook.”
At the moment its unclear if this partnership means anything beneficially for Microsoft outside of adding extra revenue from Bing.
Though it probably won’t happen, I’m hoping this is the beginning of a tighter partnership and relationship between Facebook and Microsoft– and hopefully that could eventually translate to Facebook-made apps for Windows Phone and Windows 8.
Imagine social-driven Facebook Graph Search built right into the Start UI? For Facebook users, how cool would that be? What do you think of Graph Search and the Facebook’s partnership with Bing? Could it lead to stronger collaboration between the companies elsewhere?