Lots of noise today at Microsoft Corp headquarters Redmond but little substance. Big company with big company sclerosis. The pitches look great as always but the execution is all over the place. What Microsoft needs to do with this deal is make Microsoft search the best search function there is within Facebook and not worry so much about it’s uses for web searches. If they can make it a good useful tool within the Facebook environment, then users will get used it and be more inclined to use it for web searches down the road.
Microsoft said it would provide search functionality and search advertising on Facebook as part of an extension of the ad partnership forged by the two companies in 2006.
The deal, announced at Facebook’s f8 Developer Conference in San Francisco, represents an opportunity for Microsoft to boost its anemic share in the space — though it may not provide a financial windfall. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Sources indicate the search services will be integrated into Facebook without many changes to the overall site design. Facebook will begin using an API from Microsoft some time in the fall. The actual monetary value of Thursday’s Facebook deal was not disclosed, although Microsoft previously invested $240 million in the site last October , beating out Google in the investment.At the time, it reached an exclusive deal to sell ads on Facebook outside of the United States.
After adding Facebook’s audience (90 million users worldwide) help Microsoft pick up a little bit of share?
It’s possible. But it’s hard to see it moving the needle that much — Facebook is a large social network, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not that big. At least not this moment!
Microsoft had 68.9 million unique U.S. “searchers” in June. Facebook had 16.3 million. Let’s also say that every one of Facebook’s “searchers” starts using Microsoft’s engine when they want to scour the Web (which will never happen: Lots of those folks will use Google via their toolbars or just go to the site directly). That would increase Microsoft’s core search base by 23%.
Another big issue is, when you go to google to search, you’re looking for results on the web. If you get sponsored results that send you to another site on the web, that’s within your expectations. But on Facebook, if I’m searching for Yacht Charter, and I get sponsored results that takes me out of Facebook that totally messes with my hope. Why would a Facebook user who is searching for something within Facebook want to get sent outside of Facebook? Solution is Microsoft should starts serving ads that link to marketing sites within Facebook.
Why would Facebook need “better” internal search? The only things I’ve ever searched for are names, which Facebook already returns the best possible results for.
Maybe lonely people can pay for “sponsored friend” listings?
Bottom line, it’s more distribution for Microsoft’s search platform, which is a positive. But it’s hard to imagine that it’s a game-changer.