Facebook quietly dumped Bing search from their social networking platform recently upon the full-implementation of Graph Search. While Graph Search and its new keyword search features still haven’t rolled out to all platforms – Facebook has preemptively dropped Bing search from its results. The move was one that happened toward the beginning of the week, according to a report from Reuters, and one that really didn’t catch a lot of attention until the middle, or even end of the week.
For years, the search process on Facebook was restricting. It only allowed users to search friends and some expanded categories as they years went on – but largely defaulted to Bing search when users began looking for things that stood outside the social networks space. Now though, that is being tossed as Graph Search takes center stage, and the company works to capitalize on their 1.35 billion users.
Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t been shy about pointing out that search moving forward is a major part of the puzzle that Facebook is trying to put together. The founder and CEO of the company pointed out that “There is more than a trillion posts, which some of the search engineers on the team like to remind me, is bigger than any Web search corpus out there.”
This is a significant move for a lot of reasons though. The implications exceed far beyond search for Bing, who currently owns almost a 20% share of the search market. Meanwhile, Google is number one by a significant margin. Bing’s partnership with Facebook was a major role in Microsoft’s ability to continue competing with Google, and to continue chipping away at their market share. Now though, they have lost that partnership – and undoubtedly gained another competitor that has the strength to really make a mark in the search industry. Even if Facebook is unsuccessful at pulling too much away from Google search at first, they will surely be able to pull some users from Bing, especially since the search platform was pulled from Facebook.
Facebook isn’t showing any Web results right now, anyway. The company pointed out that “Facebook recently changed its search experience to focus on helping people tap into information that’s been shared with them on Facebook vs. a broader set of Web results.” And that certainly doesn’t mean that Microsoft will now have a bad relationship with Facebook as result of this move.
At the end of the day, this was an opportunistic move by the social network. Facebook adopted Bing Search when the company was in need of expansive search options when Graph Search wasn’t coming along as the company expected. Now that Facebook is functioning well on its own two feet with search – they’ve taken this opportunity to kick Bing out, and even begin to compete with them directly as time goes on.