Facebook recently upgraded its phrase-based Graph Search beta, but dropped Bing Web search results.
Facebook removed Bing’s search functionality without any fanfare – in fact, no one is quite sure when the search tool was removed, and Facebook has been keeping quiet about the exact termination date. That seems to indicate that Web search isn’t a particularly critical part of Facebook, at least for now. If Facebook is contemplating an aggressive move into an area that Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! already have locked down, it’s going to need to sell users on the idea.
Whether Facebook is signaling a move to provide its own Web search functionality or simply focusing its search on helping its users find other users is up for debate. Facebook and Microsoft have a long history of working together, including a major investment by Microsoft in Facebook in the social networking service’s early days. Whatever Bing’s disappearance from Facebook means, a break from Microsoft likely isn’t it.