Facebook introduced Graph Search on Tuesday, but the new search tool can handle queries only within the social network. That limitation has opened up a big opportunity for Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
Graph Search will show users information from their Facebook network. For example, users can search for things like “people who live in Los Angeles,” “movies liked by my friends” or “photos of me and Jim Juarez.”
But for all other queries, Bing will handle the results.
That means that when users search for something such as “jay-z concerts 2012,” Facebook will pass off the search to Bing. Users then see Bing’s results on the left, and information from Facebook on the right. Users also will see Bing ads in both columns.
That’s a major win for both Bing and Facebook should searching on the social network catch on. Microsoft gets access to Facebook’s more than 1 billion users, and Facebook gives users another reason to stay on its website longer.
But it could be a while before Bing begins to feel the impact.
Although Graph Search is launching Tuesday, it’s a limited beta release. Users have to sign up for a waiting list to get the feature, and Facebook said it is going to take its time rolling it out to more users. Additionally, Graph Search will only be available to English-speaking users for now. Facebook hasn’t said when the tool will expand to users who speak other languages.