Kara Swisher

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Liveblogging the Bing-Facebook Bromance: "Underdog" Search With a Little Help From Your Friends

BoomTown motored on down to the Microsoft campus in Silicon Valley on a fabulously sunny day to liveblog the latest Bing event.

The software giant is updating its search service, announcing deep integration–part of a deal announced last year–with Facebook.

The theme, according to Microsoft (MSFT) SVP Yusuf Mehdi, quoting the Beatles, was search with “a little help from your friends.”

Let’s hope it’s not: “Help, I need somebody.”

11:35 am PT: Mehdi kicks off the show, announcing the line-up, which includes Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Well, it just got 100 percent more interesting here in this nondescript auditorium.

Mehdi talks a little bit about the future of search and making it better. He talks about social being an important part of it.

While I’d have gone with Barry Manilow, he quotes the Beatles.

Mehdi is followed by Microsoft Online Services Division President Qi Lu, who throws more love bombs at Facebook.

“With the partnershop of Facebook and Bing, we will be able to unlock…how people in a social relationship can be first-class citizens in a search experience,” said Lu.

It sounds so lofty, even though it is mostly trading movie review recommendations or good places to take the kids on a rainy Sunday.

Lu thanks Zuckerberg effusively and invites him onstage.

11:54 am: No hoodie.

Zuckerberg is also “honored to be here,” giving us a little history lesson about the origins of the social networking giant and its various and sundry efforts.

I’ll be honest, the lack of donuts is making me distracted.

He’s not actually saying more than bromides about “what would social search look like.”

And looking around at who would be the right partner in the arena. Microsoft! Of course! That giant investment way back when was nice too!

“They’re really the underdog here,” said Zuckerberg in the first interesting comment, noting that overdogs–that would be Google (GOOG), which he does not mention by name–never innovate much.

His take: Underdogs are the best.

12:01 pm: Mehdi is back to show off the wares in a demo.

First, what’s there. Web search in Facebook and Facebook status updates on Bing.

Zzzzzzzz. Get to the good stuff!

First, a module that brings in a Like module from Facebook into the search, with all the other information provided by Bing.

It is, said, Mehdi, particular for a person.

“This is going to profoundly change how we search,” he said of personalized experiences.

Mehdi also shows off a way to differentiate your friends who have names of famous people, who are the ones who come up on search first.

Interesting, but people search is not the biggest problem I have.

He also says more is coming, such as friend experts surfacing in search and Like in every result on a page that it was possible. Yipes!

Also, thank the Lord, the ability to turn it off.

12:15 pm: Now Facebook exec Dan Rose comes up and starts talking about the Facebook-Microsoft bromance.

Apparently, four years is an eternity in Silicon Valley in terms of a relationship.

Actually, four weeks is long, so congrats you two crazy kids!

I’d celebrate with a donut if they were here.

“More and more” social in Bing, said Rose.

It’s a match made in digital heaven!

12:22 pm: Q&A time!

So what more? The press is so unsatisfied! Yes, we are.

Zuckerberg takes the lead. New interfaces! More!

A privacy question. “This is Instant Personalization,” said Zuckerberg, who said that Facebook has five partners in that effort.

He explains Instant Personalization, saying he wants to clear up misconceptions.

It’s private enough, you oversharers!

“Just because it is all public information about you, this is really good,” he said.

But is it by default? Of course, it is. That’s Facebook modus operandi!

Opt-out should be tattooed on employees at Facebook as a requirement.

Bing does put up a warning at the top of the page, but only five times. Then, you need to go foraging to turn it off.

Next: Does Bing search queries get sent back to Facebook? Not necessarily.

But, “everything is going to be social eventually,” said Zuckerberg, as long as it is public.

Public is apparently the new black.

More questions about new Facebook Groups and other deets, none of which is that bracing.

Apropos of nothing, I am considering asking a question about the ever-exciting Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) scandal, just to jack up the volume.

I try to ask a question about Zuckerberg’s underdog comment, but no more time.

But Zuckerberg sort of addresses it, going on about why he has picked Microsoft as the favorite.

While he does not say it, it’s because Facebook is the overdog here and, as you know, every overdog needs an underdog.

Speaking of cartoon heroes, here is the opening of that classic television show:


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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of Pets.com would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”