Today, at a press event at the Palo Alto, California headquarters of Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced what he called the 3rd of the three pillars of Facebook (along with the Facebook News Feed and the Timeline), Graph Search.
Zuckerberg started off by saying that “Graph Search is not web search”, and went on to show how Facebook users will be able (Graph Search is in “early beta”, and you need to sign up on a waiting list to get access) to search across their Facebook connections to find answers such as “TV shows my friends like”, or “Mexican restaurants my friends have been to”.
After some demos of Facebook Graph Search (you can learn more about it from the Facebook press release), Zuckerberg came back on stage to slightly amend the “Graph Search is not web search” statement. In a continued partnership with Microsoft, Bing will play an expanded role in providing answers not found in your Facebook social graph. Zuckerberg explained (quote via The Verge Live blog):
“When we can’t find what you’re looking for we have a partnership with Bing to show you world class search results for things that don’t match your query.”
Bing expands on the relationship with Graph Search in a blog post on the Bing Search blog:
Even before we started making search more social with Facebook, Bing provided web search for the social network. It was, admittedly, only the beginning.
Earlier today during a press event at Facebook headquarters, Facebook showed the work they have done to allow you to search the content you have shared on Facebook – called Graph Search. This means people can search across all their content and connections on Facebook to discover new people, places and things.
As part of this product, our two engineering teams worked together to advance a unified search experience. That means that when people want to search beyond Facebook, they see web search results from Bing with social context and additional information such as Facebook pages.
Bing users already get input from Facebook in their search results if they are logged in via Bing, in a section called the “Social Sidebar”. Now, in a web search on Facebook, users will get a better Bing experience from within Facebook:
Now when you do a web search on Facebook, the new search results page features a two-column layout with Bing-powered web results appearing on the left-hand side overlaid with social information from Facebook including how many people like a given result. On the right hand side, you will see content from Facebook Pages and apps that are related to your search.
Graph Search is a big deal for Facebook, and it’s going to get a lot of exposure in the coming weeks and months, with Bing featured significantly. This has to be a good thing for Bing, as it expands its exclusive relationship with Facebook not only in Bing search results and the Bing Social Sidebar, but also now in an expanded role with Facebook’s Graph Search.