Facebook has stopped using Microsoft Bing to power searches via its social network, ending a partnership that spanned almost two years. What isn’t clear, however, is who broke up with whom. In January 2013, Facebook launched Graph Search, a search bar at the top of each Facebook page. Type in “friends who live in San Francisco,” and you’ll receive a list of friends who live in the city. Before now, however, if you typed in a mundane term like “baseball,” Facebook would suggest a list of related terms, but redirect the search to Bing if you insisted on “baseball” itself. No longer.
Facebook is no longer showing search results from Microsoft’s Bing search engine on its on-site Graph Search product, as Reuters reports. The move apparently happened four days ago, alongside an update that improved Graph Search so that it could return specific posts when you search instead of just people. In a statement to Venture Beat, a spokesperson said “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.” Microsoft also chimed in, saying “we continue to partner with Facebook in many different areas.” When it was first introduced in January 2013, Bing’s integration with Facebook’s search engine was seen as a potentially important way that Microsoft could compete with Google. Alongside Facebook’s own semi-programmable search queries, users could plug in web searches that would return structured information like the local weather. At the time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted that searching the web wasn’t core to Facebook: “we don’t think a lot of people will come to Facebook to do web searches, but if we can’t find what you’re looking for, it’s good to have this.”