The implementation is fairly straightforward: in the search box on the top right of Facebook, which is also used for quick access to your friends’ profiles and intrasite search, there is now an option to “Search the Web,” which in turn triggers a query of Microsoft Live Search. Results then display within a custom interface designed for Facebook.
Microsoft and Facebook announced their search and advertising partnership back in July, so today’s news does not come as a surprise. At the time, I wondered if Facebook might do something outside the box with the deal, writing “What will be interesting to see is if the social networks begin to do innovative things with social search by leveraging your friends list.” That does not appear to be the case so far, as the search results are essentially what you’d expect to see on any search engine.
Of course, Facebook is spinning the news as something slightly more interesting, writing on their company blog, “Imagine your friend has just invited you to an event at a restaurant you don’t know anything about. Without leaving Facebook, you can check out the details of the restaurant on the web. Or, say you see a note in your News Feed about a friend’s new laptop. If you are also in the market for a new computer or you just want to check out what she purchased, you can search the web for more information about it without having to leave Facebook.”
That’s all good and true, but you can also just enter in a search in your Google toolbar after seeing something interesting in your News Feed. Facebook (and to an extent, MySpace through its deal with Google) has an opportunity to do something cool with social search, but so far this looks like a typical search engine-content partner deal, where adding search to a site with tens of millions of eyeballs will certainly increase query volume, but not enough to make a huge dent in the overall search market.
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