The move, confirmed by a company spokesperson, comes as Facebook has
revamped its own search offerings, introducing a tool on Monday that
allows users to quickly find past comments and other information
posted by their friends on Facebook.
The decision may reflect the increasing importance that Facebook
sees in Web search technology, a market dominated by rival Google
Searches on Facebook have long been geared toward helping users
connect with friends and to find other information that exists
within the walls of the 1.35 billion-user social networking service.
But for years, Facebook's search results also included links to
standalone websites that were provided by 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. "We continue
to have a great partnership with Microsoft in lots of different
Microsoft was not immediately available for comment.
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has flagged search as one
of the company's key growth initiatives, noting in July that there
were more than 1 billion search queries occurring on Facebook every
day and hinting that the vast amount of information that users share
within Facebook could eventually replace the need to search the Web
for answers to certain questions.
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"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," Zuckerberg said on a conference call with
analysts in July.
Microsoft's Bing is the No.2 Web search provider in the U.S., with a
nearly 20 percent share of the market according to industry research
Facebook and Microsoft have a longstanding relationship dating back
to Microsoft's $240 million investment in Facebook, for a 1.6
percent stake in the company, in October 2007. As part of that deal,
Microsoft provided banner ads on Facebook's website in international
Facebook stopped using Microsoft banner ads in 2010 as it moved to
take more control of its advertising business. But Facebook, during
that same time, expanded its use of Microsoft Bing search results to
international versions of its service.
(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Christian Plumb)
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