Microsoft and Facebook are in talks to further strengthen their search partnership, possibly resulting in Bing gaining access to anonymized data generated by Facebook users to better personalize its search results, according to anonymous sources cited by All Things Digital. Microsoft would be able to use the information from Facebook's Like buttons, which the social giant has managed to have plastered all over the Web.
When a user likes a webpage, their Facebook friends are notified; if this deal goes through, Microsoft would also be able to know which webpages users are appreciating, and would be able to work that into Bing's algorithms (it could be particularly useful for Bing News), instead of just relying on spiders scouring the Internet. With Facebook's 500 million users, such a deal could give it quite a boost over Google, which presumably would be excluded from the data. The sources did point out an important hurdle though: because of Facebook's many privacy issues, the possible expansion of the search relationship would only be able to encompass information which users have already agreed to make public.
The deal works very well with Microsoft's strategy for social networking: partner rather than compete. "Nobody wants another Facebook," Dharmesh Mehta, Windows Live Director of Product Management, recently told Ars. Furthermore, Microsoft's strong relationship with Facebook is a thorn in Google's side, which benefits the two companies since they are both competing more and more with the search giant.
The Microsoft-Facebook partnership has been a roller coaster ride so far which has included a $240 million investment from Microsoft, Live Search powering Facebook, Microsoft winning and then losing ad platform exclusivity for the site, and finally Bing search result integration.
All Things Digital emphasizes there's no deal yet—the talks could fall apart. Both Microsoft and Facebook declined to comment on the report.
Source: ars technica