Microsoft is showing some chutzpah in getting aggressive by striking deals with the largest public provider of real search data (Twitter) and arguably THE largest, but not completely public, gatherer of information about what people are doing as you read this.
The Telegraph reports
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, has confirmed its search deal with Microsoft’s Bing is expected to launch within two months and that Facebook isn’t making any money from the arrangement.
Talking exclusively to the Telegraph at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco, Ms Sandberg said: “We should have our public updates integrated into a Bing beta within a couple of months. Unlike Twitter’s data stream, which is already totally public, we have to be very careful about making sure the correct data is streamed.”
This is big news for the search and social media industries as the lines blur further and further. It’s a natural progression, in that it makes sense to be able to search what is being said in real time as well as index alk of this information. Why it hasn’t happened until this point is not about logic but rather it’s about business. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and write about how it makes sense and why isn’t anyone doing it but it’s quite another to make these things happen so there is business benefit to all involved.
On that point it is interesting that Ms. Sandberg is trying to make it look like Facebook is taking the high road and saying that Facebook does not intend to make money from its data. Huh? Please don’t say that you think we are either that stupid or gullible. It’s the data that you have and the further reach of that data that will make advertisers come to you with their wallets open. OK so there may not be any fees attached for access but there are dollar signs attached to the move for sure.
So this should be interesting for sure. Sandberg made sure to put aside any fears about the data privacy that has been one of the attractive features of Facebook will not be compromised.
Facebook will only stream data from users who have set their privacy settings to “everyone on web”, which Ms Sandberg thinks will allay anyone’s concerns about breaches of confidence.
“Only people who have agreed to share their updates with everyone on the web will have their updates streamed to Bing. This move is about giving people more choices about how they share their information,” she said.
So will you make your information available to everyone? That is the real question here. Facebook has a shady history of TOS shenanigans so it will be important that those who are not savvy (which I venture is the vast majority of Facebook users) are educated as to whether they are or are not opted in to having their information on display for the entire world and not just their friends. I think that will be the real test of how this works or not.
As for me, I am not sure whether I want the world to see everything I do on Facebook. I am doing nothing illegal or immoral (as for matters of taste that is up for debate) but I also like the fact that not everyone is looking at the stuff I put up there. So, let’s sit back and wonder how this will play out. Will it be a winner or just a really good press release? Your take?