From Microsoft’s lips, Graph Search is Bing’s new best friend. Moments ago Facebook announced a new search tool, immediately sparking speculation that Bing was on the way out of the social giant.

For now, that is not the case. Bing remains integrated into the core Facebook search experience, essentially providing it with breadth: where Graph Search does not go, Bing picks up the slack – this isn’t perfect for Bing; it would have been better if Facebook had decided to give it its Graph data for the construction of a new search experience, but it also means that Bing is not dead on the social platform.

Microsoft, however, is putting on a brave face. From its blog post [Bolding: TNW]:

As part of this product, our two engineering teams worked together to advance a unified search experience. That means that when people want to search beyond Facebook, they see web search results from Bing with social context and additional information such as Facebook pages. […]

Over the next several weeks our two teams will continue to experiment and innovate towards our shared vision of giving people access to the wisdom of their friends combined with the information available on the web.

This is well phrased, and I honestly do believe that the two teams are working together, but now instead of baking Bing into the larger Facebook experience, Bing is instead being relegated to being component to Facebook’s own search technology. That is not quite the same thing.

A Microsoft spokesperson provided TNW with the following statement on the situation, most of which is a regurgitation of its blog post:

We’re continuously exploring ways to improve our current search partnership with Facebook. Microsoft will continue to power the Web search functionality on Facebook. Now, when you do a web search on Facebook, the new search results page features a two-column layout with Bing-powered web results appearing on the left-hand side overlaid with social information from Facebook including how many people like a given result. On the right hand side, you will see content from Facebook Pages and apps that are related to your search. In addition, Facebook introduced Graph Search which enables people to search across all their content and connections on Facebook to discover new people, places and things.

In an odd sense, if Facebook users fall in love with Graph Search, it could drive search usage, and thus perhaps more queries to Bing. Perhaps. But that feels like a long shot. And the future isn’t exactly lovely for Bing: Zuckerberg noted today that Bing will step up in areas that Graph Search hasn’t indexed “yet.”

Certainly, having Facebook funnel search traffic in its direction remains a win for Bing, but the tea leaves are not exactly predicting a rosy future for its Facebook partnership.

Top Image Credit: Robert Scoble