Rather suddenly over the last few days, Facebook has removed the ability to see Bing results within a Facebook search. This has been dropped in favour of using its own search technology and just bringing results from within the Facebook ecosystem. Presumably this helps to keep eyes on the website and therefore on the adverts too.
Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t see the need for other results. He’s previously bragged about getting “1 billion queries a day and we’re not even trying.”. There are other reports suggesting he thinks Facebook searching could supersede web searches one day. But it seems like Mr Zuckerberg doesn’t want to give you options as such – during the same talk he seemed to mention that users want specific answers from their social networks as opposed to a ‘pile of results’.
His given example that day was picking a sushi restaurant. Maybe I’m being weird, but I think having a search engine’s machine learning and algorithms at your disposal – as well as the ability to curate them according to your own criteria – is probably preferable to social suggestion. Though I make that statement depending on how you use Facebook. Most people I know don’t just have their immediate friends and family on there. In the absence of their input on sushi restaurants how much do you really value the input of Bob who, for sake of argument, worked with your old colleague five years ago and you met on a night out just once?
Perhaps I just don’t have enough faith in Facebook’s algorithm for making suggestions! Time will of course tell how this all works out, but I remain sceptical that a walled-garden Facebook network search could seriously supersede a global query system.
Whilst it’s not the first move Facebook has made away from Microsoft tech and towards proprietary solutions, it’s not the end for the Microsoft/Facebook relationship. Microsoft continues to own a sizeable stake and Facebook recently said:
“We continue to have a great partnership with Microsoft in lots of different areas.”
How long will this remain true for?