Facebook is getting more insular–or more self-sufficient–and that looks like bad news for Microsoft and Bing. “We’re not currently showing web search results in Facebook Search because we’re focused on helping people find what’s been shared with them on Facebook,” a company spokesperson told Reuters. In other words, instead of Facebook users getting web search results supplied by Bing, with links to sites outside the social network, they’re getting results from inside Facebook–and Bing, the longtime search partner for Facebook, is out.
Microsoft’s attempt to compete in search with its Bing search engine has had famous trouble from the start. Even with the built-in audience Microsoft commands through many of its still essential Office products, Bing has had trouble gaining market share as Google and search became increasingly synonymous. The new horizon for search in social networks offered a chance for Microsoft to reassert itself. Huge closed systems like Facebook don’t permit Google penetration. And the bigger and more important Facebook becomes in people’s daily lives, the more information users will find there, instead of on the web proper. Microsoft seemed to recognize this early, investing in Facebook in 2007. The move was mainly, it seemed, an effort to secure a place for its Bing software in the world’s largest social network. It worked, but now Facebook believes it has enough data and information to support robust search results for users from within its own universe.