Although Facebook itself was keen to suggest the Graph Search announcement was not it going into direct competition with web search (read, Google), Microsoft’s Bing has announced a feature it says will add five times the content to search through Facebook integration.
Making a query in Bing will now comb through “five times” the content from friends, delivering status updates, shared links, comments, or photos that are relevant.
Some observers suggested that when Microsoft bought Skype in a surprise move, the deal was actually about cosying up to Facebook. In 2011, we reported that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted integrating video calling with Skype was largely because the company was now with Microsoft. Although both had previously worked together, that really got the ball rolling on cooperation.
Bing’s social search sidebar also makes it possible to query LinkedIn, G+, Twitter, Klout, Foursquare, and Quora. But the big deal is Facebook.
The feature does sound like it could be useful. Bing was given an enormous pot of cash to market it as a viable alternative to Google, and although the latter is still by far the dominant player, Bing’s web search market share has slowly been creeping higher. Social search could win it more regular users, but unfortunately for Bing, its main function will be driving users to social networks rather than bringing that traffic to it.
On the other side of the fence, Google’s Larry Page had a pop at Facebook, saying that its market share is strong but its products aren’t.