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Bing to offer Facebook-slurping 'friend search'

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Microsoft poked its search engine users again yesterday, to remind them that it now offers personalised results based on the opinions of friends on Facebook.

Bing was given the Facebook treatment in October last year, prompting protests from Google's Matt Cutts, who argued that the company was being slipshod with users' personal data.

Google, of course, has been guilty of loading its own online properties with privacy-lite technology such as the ill-conceived Buzz add-on in Gmail.

Microsoft clearly wants to tap into the huge data farm amassed by Facebook, which now has around 600 million users worldwide, by slotting what it creepily described as the "Friend Effect" into its search engine.

Late last year, Redmond said that the partnership with Facebook would lead to deeper integration within Bing down the line.

"Bing and Facebook are making a bet – one that will marry the logic of search, with the recommendations and opinions of your social network and the masses – to extend search beyond just fact-based decision making, to decisions that are made with the power of people AND search," wrote the company's corporate veep Yusuf Mehdi in a blog post on Monday. ®

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