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Facebook’s brand new search product, Graph Search, is so important that Mark Zuckerberg considers it the “third pillar” of Facebook. The other two are News Feed—the river of personalised updates that greets you when you log in—and Timeline, Facebook’s user profile.
Given that Microsoft invested $240 million into Facebook in 2007 and has done numerous advertising and search deals with Facebook over the years, it might seem that Facebook’s new search product could tick off its partner.
Not the case.
Zuckerberg very carefully pointed out that Graph Search is not a Web search engine. In fact, when Facebook’s Graph Search doesn’t come up with any answers, it defaults to a Bing search.
Today, if you type a search term into Facebook’s search box and then click “more results,” you’ll get an option to search the Web. That Web search is provided by Bing, and Graph Search won’t change that relationship.
It will be interesting to see how this re,lationship plays out. One of the nice things that Bing got from its Facebook investment was data from Facebook added to Bing search results. With Graph Search that feature might one day become more broadly available.
At the launch, Zuckerberg said there wasn’t an API available for developers, but it’s on the company’s roadmap of things it wants to eventually offer.
So if anything, Graph Search is an opportunity for Microsoft and Facebook to work together more closely.
Then again, Zuckerberg also said that Facebook “would love to work with Google” and add social features to its search, too—but couldn’t come to an agreement over privacy controls.