Microsoft to use Facebook to extend Live Search reach

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live_search_icon.jpgNow that Microsoft has abandoned its attempts to grab a piece of Yahoo search pie, it’s looking for new ways to make sure Live Search is down with you crazy social networking kids. Naturally, that involves crowbarring it into the social networking website of the hour, Facebook (in which the Redmond Giant has a 1.6% share), in the hope that someone will use by accident and even decide they like it.

Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, told analysts “We will be providing an API to Facebook where they will create a rich search experience, including a Web search for the Facebook users.” Now read that again, carefully, using your best Nazi POW camp guard impression. Great, huh?

“We’re excited about even using that as an opportunity to further extend the Live Search reach,” he concluded. I added the emphasis, by the way. Does that mean Mr Ballmer even gets excited about putting a search engine on Facebook? I mean, this agreement is not exactly the social networking equivalent of a Hollywood sex and coke party, but you don’t need to be so down on it, Steve.

Presumably he means that Microsoft’s efforts to expand Live Search have even gone so far as to include a search bar on Facebook. Fair enough, but can anyone name a browser that doesn’t already have a search bar, compatible with almost any choice of search engine, in the top right corner? As we’re beginning to see worrying signs of a future slowdown of individual social networking sites in favour of web-spanning social networking tools, surely this manoeuvre is at risk of the very same problem?

Also, I hope the Facebook chaps remember to ensure the searches open in a new window – it’s going to be very annoying if a simple web search immediately ejects you from your Facebook session. That could utterly spoil your game Scrabulous (although it would serve you right, you cheats).

Live Search (via CRN)

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