Facebook Integrates with Bing & Skype

14th Oct, 2010

Facebook made two big announcements in the last 24 hours. The social network is further embedding itself into Microsofts search engine Bing, and the new version of Skype (5.0 to be exact) comes with Facebook integration. It would almost seem like Facebook is on a scramble to fortify its core service with further features from existing providers. This is unlike it’s approach to, say, Facebook Places where the social network went alone and built its own location based platform. It’s almost as if Facebook see’s something on the horizon, Google Me perhaps?

Bing Make Search Social

First off the blocks was this announcement yesterday that Bing search would include information pulled from your own network of friends on Facebook. It’s a fairly monumental step when you consider it. But one that makes sense. Bing when searching for items like people, will now pull in names of those with more connections to your network, rather than someone from the other side of the world who happens to share their name. Looking up restaurants, films or even news stories Bing search will include ‘likes’ of your friends. Which adds a layer of personal endorsement to these items and if you see a friend who’s opinion you trusted ‘liked’ a restaurant nearby would you not go if you wanted to eat somewhere?

It also puts a new twist on SEO, the more likes a place has, the more likely it is to appear in this part of the search display. Bing will also display non-liked places that are top of the rankings. This underlines the importance of social to search, and I read somewhere (I can’t find the link right now) that there’s no reason why Google can’t access this information too. The one drawback? You have to remember to use Bing. Not that it’s a bad search engine, and this should boost its traffic, but it’s more a case of having to remember not to use Google.

Skype me on Facebook

This was announced earlier today, and its a pretty interesting. If you can cast your mind back to this post I questioned if Gmail voice calls would be integrated into the Google Me social service. Think of it, being able to call friends on their mobiles from email (as it is at the moment and only in the USA) or from a social network. Facebook have teamed up with Skype to bring that to fruition. Now you can call, text and update your newsfeed from with Skype. You need to download the new version of Skype from here. Let it install and log in as normal. Then click on the home icon and up pops a new box with a Facebook tab. It will ask you to log in with Facebook Connect.

Once in you have access to your newsfeed and to your Facebook Phonebook with the numbers belonging to your friends who have decided to share that information with Facebook. For those without a contact number, you can click to ask them for a number and an automatic email is sent asking them to add their phone number. Within the newsfeed view, any post from a friend who’s number you have, will feature two new buttons – to call or text. Just looking at it now and it seems fairly smooth and sleek. The newsfeed also seems to update in realtime or near realtime. If you and a contact are already on Skype Facebook will pick up on this as well and you can make a free call.Thats not all, the new Skype comes with a bunch of new features including up to 10 way video calling. This is a huge deal for Skype who now could generate untold revenue having tapped into the 500 Million Facebook users.

It’s the addition of services like Skype to the Facebook platform that  keeps people using it. People use social media and networks because they can identify a value they get from them. Facebook keep building upon that value to deepen their relationship with the user and ultimately that prevents competitors from entering the market. It’s a smart move on the part of Facebook, they now need to convince everyone it’s safe to share your mobile number within their platform.