Facebook + Bing: The Good, the Bad, & the Incontinent

Facebook is teaming with Microsoft Bing to make search more "social." Soon, what you 'Like' may become part of your permanent record.

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And so it begins in earnest. The Web has become the Social Web, and these days “social” translates almost literally into Facebook. Soon there will be few places on the InterWebs untouched by the Zuckerberg machine.

It really started back when Facebook began seeding third-party sites with “Recommend” buttons, most of which were later changed to the annoyingly simple-minded “Like” button. This week’s announcement of Facebook’s partnership with Bing is another big step towards the Facebookization of everything.

In principle it’s a fine concept: When you connect Facebook with Bing, your search results will also feature occasional recommendations from your Facebook friends. If, say, you’re searching for a good Indian restaurant in town, you might see that six of your foodie friends gave India Majal a big thumbs up. Helpful info, to be sure. Kind of like using Yelp, only in this case you know for certain whether these people are idiots (instead of just assuming they are).

In other words, instead of relying on the “wisdom of the crowd,” you’ll be relying (in part at least) on the wisdom of your crowd. That’s an improvement, right?

Well, yes and no.

[ See also: What's wrong with Facebook's 'Group' grope ]

One problem is that, if you’re anything like me, your Facebook friends are anything but homogenous. In fact, many of them are anything but real friends.

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