Facebook And Yahoo Discussing Search Partnership, Report Says

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg are discussing a potential partnership, according to a report in The Sunday Telegraph.

The story is based on anonymous sources who seem primarily to be “Yahoo insiders.” It’s vague on the details of the partnership, perhaps because those details are still being worked out, but “board members expect the talks to lead to much more substantial collaboration based around web-based search.”

If the two companies did reach a deal, how significant would it be? The Telegraph argues that this could “reorder the hierarchy of the world’s biggest technology companies,” giving Yahoo a big selling point in its efforts to win over both web searchers and engineers, while also making Facebook more useful for its members.

That might just be wishful thinking on Yahoo’s part — the social network’s partnership with Microsoft doesn’t seem to have provided a significant lift to Bing. On the other hand, this could provide Facebook an opportunity to take a different approach to search integration.

If nothing else, these discussions suggest that the relationship between Facebook and Yahoo have thawed after their patent dispute earlier this year, which was settled in July.

I’ve emailed Facebook and Yahoo for comment and will update if I hear back.

Update 1: A Yahoo spokesperson declined to comment on the report. Meanwhile, AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher writes that her sources “scoffed about such a deal.”

Update 2: And now Facebook is denying that such talks are taking place