Updated: Facebook Launches Microsoft Live Search Integration

Facebook launched Microsoft Live Search integration on the public site today, showing off how users will be able to access Live Search within Facebook.

(Update: Facebook Web Search powered by Microsoft Live Search is now live again. Earlier, the push appeared to have only been temporary – Live Search integration was pulled down from the site after only a few minutes. A company blog post on the Live Search launch was also temporarily taken down.)

Here’s How It Works

When users enter queries into Facebook search, if Facebook’s look-ahead doesn’t find any matching friends, groups, pages, events, or applications, an option to “search the web” appears. The search results page shows Live Search results. As part of Microsoft’s partnership with Facebook (which includes the software giant’s $240 million investment in the company last year), Microsoft will sell the search ad inventory for Facebook Web Search.

Part of a Larger Integration?

It’s not clear if this integration is merely part of an overall integration. As Sebastian Gard of Microsoft commented last week,

Facebook is taking a very thorough approach to how they’re putting Live Search in, however – they’re not just plugging web search in like we’ve seen other social networks do.

Facebook’s Leah Pearlman said about the release,

We think there is the potential for much more and we’re working on a number of other new ways to leverage all the web has to offer.

So it looks like there is much more to come.

A New Battlefront in the Social Platform Wars

Facebook’s launch of Microsoft Live Search integration marks a new phase of the company’s increasing battle with Google. As the Facebook Platform vs OpenSocial and Facebook Connect vs Google Friend Connect platform wars evolve, so now a new battlefront is forming around search. In the very least, the Facebook integration should boost Live Search’s query volume and share of searches over time – and provide a nice boost to Facebook’s bottom line.