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BingBing Integrates More Facebook Results into Social Sidebar (AllFacebook)
Just like Facebook is integrating Bing into its graph search, Microsoft’s search engine is getting more cozy with the social network. Bing announced Thursday that more results from users’ Facebook friends will be included next to the main search results if users have connected their Facebook accounts to Bing. PC Magazine “Starting today, five times more of your friends’ content on Facebook is searchable in the sidebar — including status updates, shared links, comments and photos from your friends,” Microsoft said. “It is now easier to see who knows and what they’ve shared related to your search. So when your friends aren’t around, Bing is the perfect stand-in.” CNET The social sidebar is the right-hand area that displays material related to queries from social networks such as Twitter, Foursquare and Klout. The bar has been beefed up to return status updates, shared links and comments from Facebook friends related to your searches. The bar also emphasizes friends’ Facebook photos in greater detail. Computerworld Previously, the results included only the Facebook friends’ “Likes,” photos and profile information. The idea is to give people more useful and personalized results. ars technica In related news, in the wake of its “graph search” announcement, Facebook removed the ability for users to opt out of appearing in search results on the site, as noted by Quartz. Because graph search relies on the content of profiles to fuel its results, the move will allow more comprehensive returns on searches but may violate the privacy of users who previously relied on that feature.

Foursquare, in Bid for Relevance, Shows Off 500 Million Check-ins (SocialTimes)
Foursquare published a map displaying its last 500 million check-ins, which it says it amassed over the last three months. With the world map, the company is making a not-so-veiled claim for relevance in the wake of a critical report released earlier this month by PrivCo, a financial research firm that specializes in private companies. The report alleged that Foursquare has had trouble raising venture funding and is likely to be purchased this year for less that its total funding. CNET The map plots out all the check-ins — which are so complete in some areas, it looks like a boundary map — from the last three months in bright points against a black background. You can zoom in to get a closer look, but most of the activity is in the United States and United Kingdom. The Next Web In a blog post today, Foursquare says that it likes to think of its recommendation system as a “Google PageRank for the real world.” The PageRank system is a closely guarded algorithm that determines the worth of pages based off of a bunch of mutable and constantly-being-tweaked factors. GigaOM In related news, Instagram announced Thursday that it’s hit 90 million monthly active users, finally releasing the metric that most people look to in evaluating the reach of a particular website or app. Monthly active users are one of the better indicators of a company’s true reach — you can have millions of users, but if they never log in and use your service, that doesn’t mean much.

California State Budget Pinched by Facebook Stock (The Daily Dot)
This week, the office of Gov. Jerry Brown drastically scaled back its expectations for how much taxable revenue the state can hope to collect from the stock over the next 18 months. According to The Wall Street Journal, last week gubernatorial aides lowered their estimates for how much revenue the state will see from Facebook stock through the end of California’s 2013-14 budget year by nearly a third.

RIP LinkedIn Answers (Mashable)
LinkedIn will pull the plug on LinkedIn Answers, its Quora-like Q&A service, on Jan. 31. The company sent an email to LinkedIn users on Thursday explaining the move.

Twitter’s User Research Team Launches Survey and Pays $100 for Your Participation (AllTwitter)
Want a cool $100? Twitter’s User Research team launched a survey, and if you’re selected, they’re offering $100 for one hour of your time.

Facebook Unleashes Cupid Potential (USA Today)
After years of playing a de facto cupid among friends, Facebook is no longer just dipping a toe in the online-dating hot tub. “For dating queries, friends of friends tends to be a good place to start,” said Tom Stocky, Facebook director of product management.

Theaters Encourage Twitter Users to Tweet in Seats (AppNewser)
While it may have been considered rude in the past, tweeting while sitting in a theater is now being embraced by some venues across the country. The idea is that cultural institutions encourage Twitter users who attend events to live-tweet shows by giving tweeters reserved seats and a hashtag.

Google/YouTube to Invest in Music Distributor Vevo? (ReadWrite)
Is Google about to make a move to control the distribution of music videos? Well, maybe. If YouTube and its corporate owner Google take a stake in music video distributor Vevo, as has been widely reported, it would be yet another sign of the tech giant’s increasing interest in video content.

Kickstarter Project Wants to Expose Idea Thieves of Silicon Valley (GigaOM)
A man claims he was burned by the money men of Silicon Valley and now wants the public to fund a documentary about idea theft. Unfortunately, his track record raises questions about his own integrity.