Facebook moves closer to Microsoft with Bing deal

In a move which shows the growing partnership between the two online giants, Microsoft has begun letting Bing search results reflect “likes” of people’s Facebook friends as the social network and software company grew closer.

Ever since Microsoft bought a 1.6% share in Facebook in 2007 for more than $200-million there has been low-level co-operation and general cosying between the two companies. The Bing deal has just made things a whole lot cosier.

As the company’s press release announcing the deal states, “According to a recent survey conducted by Bing and Impulse Research, 90 percent of people surveyed seek advice from family and friends before making decisions. This “friend effect” is apparent in a majority of decisions and often outweighs other facts because people feel more confident, smarter and safer with guidance from their trusted circle.”

As such this new partnership seeks to replicate this real life experience, online.

In the release, Bing’s senior vice president, Yusuf Mehdi is quoted as saying, “The best decisions are not just fueled by facts, they require the opinions and emotions of your friends… We’re marrying fact-based search results with your friends’ street smarts to combine the best data on the Web with the opinions of the people you trust the most and the collective IQ of the Web.”

The first sign web-users saw of this deal was Microsoft adding the option to download a “Bing bar” button that Facebook users can use to indicate a “Like” for a web page they visit.

In October, Facebook and Microsoft announced that the social context of Facebook’s information database would be brought into Bing searches.

At the time Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said, “This is just the beginning; there is going to be a whole lot more to come over time”.

Likes, interests and other information shared at Facebook hold the potential to let search engines tailor online searches to individuals and personalise results. Microsoft’s partnership with Facebook dates back four years to when the social networking service had just 100 employees and seven million members.

Microsoft paid US$ 240 million in late 2007 for a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook. Along with that Bing, is used to power Internet searches at the social network.

This deal is hoped to allow Bing to close ground on internet search king Google, which Bing has been striving to do since its creation. Google executives have also discussed the importance of making searches more personal and social.

This announcement comes on the back of recent revelation of Facebook having run a dirty tricks campaign against their partners chief rival, Google. — AFP and Staff Reporter



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