Facebook, Microsoft team up to make search more social

Looking for a good movie, Bing will help you find out what your friends recommend (See video below)

Microsoft and Facebook announced today that they're teaming up to make search more social.

Starting today, when someone searches for a restaurant or movie on Bing, he can see what his friends have liked. People now can more easily depend on their friends to get online guidance, Microsoft said.

"It's an unfolding of a new era of search," said Qi Lu, president of Microsoft's Online Services division, in a press conference at Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Wash. "Our quest is to... enable our users to make informed decisions faster."

The social search announcement is an extension of an ongoing partnership between Microsoft and Facebook. Lu said the announcement isn't the culmination of the pairing and added that we can expect more tools and technologies from the companies in the future.

Facebook's search, which is powered by Bing, is also making it easier to find people on the social networking site. "Now when you search on Bing, rather than showing you all the Matthew Kims out there, Bing finds and provides the results most relevant to you based on your Facebook connections -- those with whom you have mutual friends will now show up first," said Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, who was at the press conference. "Bing is also making more prominent the ability to add these people as friends on Facebook directly from Bing."

Ezra Gottheil, an analyst at Technology Business Research, said teaming up is a good idea for Facebook and for Microsoft.

"It has appeal to Facebook's core audience -- people who care about what their friends like," Gottheil said. "I think it will increase Bing traffic, and drive some revenue to Facebook."

Microsoft's promotional video, "Bing and Facebook: Search more social." (Click arrow button to play video. Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers may require two clicks to start the video.)

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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