Facebook has been, in internet years, around for a long time. However, they still have not found a way to integrate with the major search engines like Google and Yahoo/Bing. That is…until now. Finally Facebook’s social data is being introduced to a search engine in a creative way. Bing is now making use of the social data to show new “Liked by Your Friends” matches and Facebook-powered people search results. The initiative offers a huge amount of promise, and may even give Bing an advantage that Google won’t be able to respond to quickly. Keep in mind that you may not see the new features appear on every search but think of it as a beginning, and let’s keep an eye out for what will happen next between Bing and Facebook.

In a nutshell, this is what happens: when you perform a search on Bing or in “web results” on Facebook (powered by Bing), you’ll be able to see your friends’ faces next to web pages they’ve liked. So, you can lean on friends to decide which websites may be most relevant or attractive for your search.

Over the past few years, many people considered Facebook’s social information as a veritable threat to Google’s search engine business. The idea was that by knowing who your friends are and what they like Facebook would somehow produce a better search engine, since there are 500 million heavily active users.

There was a growing opinion that once Facebook announced the “Like” button earlier this year, the company would be able to identify all the best content across the web, in a way Google could never do. The bottom line is that who would choose the best websites in Facebook’s search engine would be humans as opposed to Google’s algorithms and robots. This could finally be what puts Facebook in the search “game”. Further, it is no secret that one of the most important items that Google uses to rank a web page is the number of inbound links it contains. Facebook would simply count “likes” which they figure would be even more reliable data for web ranking. It’s sort of pitting real, genuine, human intelligence versus artificial intelligence.

There remain flaws to this argument but we think Facebook is going with this line of thinking.

So at last, we have a prediction that appears to be coming true. Facebook’s “Like” data is now being used to improve search results, but not in the way that some anticipated. Not yet anyway. It’s also not really being done at Facebook itself but rather at Bing. It will be interesting to see Google’s response

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