Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg just took the stage at Microsoft Bing's announcement of its new social search product. The idea: information from your friends can customize your search results to you, making them far more powerful.
By integrating information about what your friends "Like," searches will be far more efficient and users will make better, more informed decisions, faster.
This "instant personalization" will implement an algorithm that taps into information from your Facebook account, to influence the results Bing shows. And results will be shown within the context of what your friends like.
If you search for a movie or restaurant, Bing will show you the restaurants where your friends have "checked in," or which of your friends have added a new movie to their profile page. Making search more effective should make advertising more effective, which should mean a major revenue boost.
But what about that always controversial question of privacy? Microsoft's SVP of Online Audience Business, Yusuf Mehdi stressed that the company is acutely aware of concerns: they're allowing consumers to opt out and they're only sharing public information.
The first times you go to Bing search you can either click "learn more" or "no thanks" if you want to turn this feature off. And Microsoft will not share information back to Facebook. And Facebook users volunteer plenty of information that could be very useful—Bing will try to determine who experts are, based on who "checks in" and where.
Zuckerberg stressed that he has always been interested in how people interact, noting that he didn't just major in computer science, he also studied psychology. Integrating Facebook into search takes the value of people's shared information to the next level.
Search, Zuckerberg says, has always been one-size-fits-all, and now it's personalized for you. Zuckerberg says he thinks many more applications will work this way in the future.
"Zuckerberg stressed that he has always been interested in how people interact, noting that he didn't just major in computer science, he also studied psychology."
There was a lot of love shared between Microsoft and Facebook. Zuckerberg said Facebook has always partnered with the underdog, and in search that's Microsoft, so they're incentivized to innovate. He raved about how helpful the relationship has been over the years.
Facebook's VP of Partnerships & Platform Marketing, Dan Rose, went into great detail about the timeline of their partnership. It all adds up to more juice for Microsoft as it tries to steal marketshare from Google. If it works, this could give Bing a real leg up.
So what aboutGoogle? Eric Schmidt has talked in great length about how he wants to make everything Google does social. How will he do it if Microsoft has nailed down a relationship with Facebook? Zuckerberg says "over the long term we would like to work with everyone," but for now, Microsoft is the ideal partner. Zuckerberg stressed that the incumbent—Microsoft—is the real innovator. I can't wait to see what Google does in response.
Here's a link to Facebook's announcement and a demo of how it works.
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