Microsoft’s announcement Wednesday that it will use personal Facebook data to help refine search results for Bing users could mark a major shift–not only in search, but in how we view the Web in general.
Bing, however is not the first–and will not be the last–to strike such a partnership with Facebook. Zuckerberg and company want your Facebook profile to act as an online identity that accompanies you as you move around the Web. Your profile would help other Websites understand your interests and serve customized content or search results to you, and the choices you make at other sites (likes/dislikes, purchases, etc.) could be ported back to Facebook and added to your Facebook identity.
Google was so compelled by this idea–in fact felt such a threat from it–that it developed and launched its own social Web vehicle. “Buzz was a direct reaction to the possible disintermediation of Google by Twitter and Facebook,” says Chris Hoofnagle, director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology. “It was Google’s way of keeping people from switching to Facebook or Twitter as their default communication vehicle on the Web.”