Live From Bing's Facebook Event: Search Gets Better Because Of Your Friends

Today in Mountain View, CA, Microsoft is holding a special event to showcase some of the new features of Bing.  And as we noted yesterday, it’s got a special guest: Facebook. According to our invite, the two companies are planning to “talk about the new directions and future opportunities of search and a demonstration of some new search innovation by Bing.” I’m here live taking notes. The event is being live streamed here.

Facebook has a big presence here, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg, CTO Brett Taylor, and numerous employees and what seems like half the PR team in attendance — we’re expecting some big news on this front.

The event is kicking off.

Some of what’s being shown off today will go live immediately following the event. Other stuff is more of a long-term prediction.

There’s a lot of broad talk about improving search and how things are changing. “The structure of the web is rapidly evolving giving the ability to discern and predict”. Saying Facebook is the most important, with 500 million users. “Help users make better decisions and complete tasks more efficiently — that’s the central theme of this announcement.” “We’re going to be able to create search capabilities… a classic example is name queries, which is generally not good unless you look for public figures. But with Facebook, that experience will be dramatically better.”

There are three opinions: Popular, expert, and trusted. We trust the people we know. They’re talking a lot without showing anything yet…

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is now on stage.
Want to talk about this partnership, why social search is really important. I studied psychology back in college — I knew that a huge amount of people’s brains is focused on processing information about people. So that’s where we started. Built a very early photos app. A very early groups app. We did’t have big teams, but had deep social integration. We’ve improved the apps since, but we decided in 2007 that we wanted to focus on building a platform.
We’re interested in working with companies that are really scrappy, that are underdogs. Saw this in games. But this clearly isn’t just about games. Over the next five years, we expect almost every industry will be disrupted by someone making a product in that industry that’s deeply socially integrated. We’ve worked with MS before on ads, search, Maps and more coming.

“Microsoft really is the underdog here, they have an incentive go to all out and innovate.”

Zuckerberg has left the stage.

Ok, now they’re showing off the products

Showing off existing Bing search that’s integrated into Facebook. You probably haven’t used it before. “Clearly people don’t go to Facebook to do web search”

New additions:
If you search for something, and your friends have previously ‘Liked’ a story that’s related, Bing will show you a box called “Liked by your Facebook friends”. Sometimes this module will show up at the top of the page, sometimes the bottom, and sometimes never, depending on how relevant Bing things it is.

Example: If you search for Steakhouse San Francisco, Bing will show the five nearest results. But if a friend has previously ‘Liked’ a steakhouse that’s not listed, then it will show that one as well.

Also integrated people search. Type in a friend’s name, and instead of seeing a celebrity’s name, you’ll see your friend’s photo.

Head to Bing and you’ll see a message saying “Bing just got better with your Facebook Friends”. It’s using Instant Personalization. You’ll see that message at the top four times.

In the future, will have likes and Facebook photos of friends not just in the ‘Like’ module, but in every link that’s displayed. And one that’s further out: determining which of your friends are experts in a given topic (see if they’ve checked in at that location, see if they’re put up photos and tagged things).

Facebook’s Dan Rose is on stage discussing how long Facebook and Microsoft have worked together. Were talking from the beginning about what could be done to make web search social, but four years ago Bing branding didn’t even exist and Facebook was still a very young company.

Started this implementation with Bing less than two months ago.