Facebook, desperate for even more of your personal information, and Yahoo!, desperate for you to remember it exists, are considering a search alliance that would basically be Google, but totally different. And, actually, if they can make it work, it’s a fairly intriguing idea.
The basic plan is fairly straightforward: When people search for something on Facebook, give them results tied to their friends. For example, instead of just finding the official Fan page for Taco Bell, you’d also find results of what your friends think of Taco Bell, or discover who works at Taco Bell, simply by asking “What do my friends think of Taco Bell?”
Zuckerberg wants to provide a way to navigate the entire Web outside of Facebook’s walled garden by harnessing the “trillions of connections between friend requests and all the content that’s being pushed into the system.”
“At some point, that will start to be a better map of how you navigate the Web than the traditional link structure of the Web. I think there’s an opportunity to really build something interesting there,” he said.
Yahoo’s part would be providing more detail search tools and an extra 700 million or so users. It’s a fairly interesting idea, as far as it goes, but it’s going to have two fairly large roadblocks: First, Google is trying to do exactly the same thing with Google Plus and its own Google engine, and two, those pesky privacy issues that keep biting Facebook in the ass.
Sticking to that Taco Bell example, if this makes it easier to locate and stalk the sixteen-year-old at the register, that would be a problem. But if Facebook and Yahoo! can make it work, then it might be an interesting way to get to know people, and collect more restraining orders.