When Microsoft made its investment in Facebook I always had thought that Live Search would come to the site, together with search monetization. Later it appeared that search wasn’t part of the deal. Facebook’s competitors all have web search, including Google’s much publicized deal with MySpace.
Well today Microsoft announced that Live Search will be coming to Facebook, together with paid search ads.
Here’s the note from Microsoft PR:
Microsoft’s yearly financial analyst meeting, Microsoft SVP, Satya Nadella announced the extension of Microsoft’s U.S. relationship with Facebook to encompass search.
As part of the deal, Microsoft will work with Facebook to bring its customers Live Search-powered web search and search ads by the end of the calendar year. Facebook will work with Microsoft to design the best search experience for Facebook’s customers and advertisers.
This is a big deal for both Microsoft and Facebook, which had no web search prior to this. If Facebook eventually drives a good deal of volume it can help Microsoft gain exposure to users and potentially additional market share over time, but also will drive search revenue. Facebook now has in excess of 100 million users globally.
Postscript: The Wall Street Journal notes that “A person familiar with the matter said the feature will be a “complement” to the existing Facebook service and won’t change the overall look and feel of the site.” Read/Write Web notes that Facebook will get API access to Live Search and “according to Steve Ballmer, Microsoft will be providing an API to Facebook which will allow them to create a ‘rich search experience for the Facebook users’.” So maybe we will see some of Facebook’s social data mixed with search results, though I suspect not for some time and that the usefulness will be limited.