The Yahoo! search engine is now showing pictures from Facebook profiles next to results from searches, it has been claimed.

According to the Digital Inspiration website, the search engine notes that images appear in a similar way to how Google shows image thumbnails with search results.

The site adds that Yahoo! has not opted to cache the images, meaning that they come direct from Facebook, so if users decide to update their profile pictures, the changes will show immediately on any new searches.

However, despite the claims, Search Engine Land blogger Greg Sterling notes that he was unable to duplicate the results Digital Inspiration purports to have.

Facebook last year said it was opening its user profiles to public search listings, so long as users’ individual privacy settings allowed for the move.

The social networking site argued that the change would allow people to more easily find their friends through the site. Such a move by the site shows that Facebook is working on search engine optimisation techniques to improve page rankings, Search Engine Land claimed.

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