Facebook takes swing at Google with new search feature

23 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook just made 2 trillion public posts easily searchable (so you should probably check your settings).

Facebook has fed everyone’s public posts into its search engine, meaning that most updates will now be readily available for everyone — no matter how old they are.Facebook just made two trillion posts easily searchable, so those embarrassing statuses you thought were relegated to the annals of time may crop up again. ‘Because we’ve indexed the entire world’s conversations, we tell you things that are trending, things that are breaking, what’s happening right now,’ Rousseau Kazi, a product manager on the site’s search team, told The Verge. ‘Once you understand the basis of the story, we move into how your world is reacting to it,’ Kazi added. ‘We’re making it super easy for you to get everyone’s perspective in one place about a topic that you care about.’ The whole point is to steal people away from Twitter, which just enabled the ‘moments’ feature to make it easier to see real-time reactions to news.

On Thursday, it launched ‘Search FYI’, a service that allows users to find anything from its vast index, including public posts, both by people (who may or may not be on your friends’ list) and content posted by people and brands on their official Pages. “We’re updating Facebook Search so that in addition to friends and family, you can find out what the world is saying about topics that matter to you,” Tom Stocky, Facebook’s vice-president of search, said in a press release. Facebook hopes that the tool will allow it to become more of a way of finding out what is going on — it will be possible to search for how people are reacting to a news event, for instance, or to find everything that everyone has said about a certain TV show. The service will effectively turn Facebook into a powerful real-time discovery engine for news, while using the same technology which powers its Trending Topics feature. It will also allow Facebook to track more accurately what people are talking about, so that its search tools can offer information about what’s going on.

For a start, Facebook’s search will throw better suggestions. “When you tap into the search box and start typing, we’ll now offer timely, personalized search suggestions. When Facebook says it will pull out all relevant posts, it could also mean some of your embarrassing or personal posts that you may have accidentally posted under ‘Public’ settings will be made visible.

Facebook showed off how searching for “water on mars” would bring up everything that people were saying about Nasa’s announcement — but searching for a more personal, private event would do the same. With the new service, Facebook is also pitting itself against the big giant of search — Google by positioning itself as the “source for news.” While Google has been indexing the world’s information, Facebook aims at indexing all the world’s conversations. Let’s take a look at what you need to do to avoid your personal posts from going public: Under Privacy Settings and Tools, there is a section called future posts. Compare this with Google which last updated its search figure in 2012 and was averaging 3.3 billion searches per day and over 38,000 thousand per second. The service could potentially increase user engagement on Facebook as the user may not exactly feel the need to exit the site/app to find news elsewhere, say Google or Twitter.

The increase in user engagement from the new search, might open up new levels of debate and discussion on Facebook, lending it more traffic and in turn, benefit its vast advertising clientele, leading to more ad revenue. It is important to remember that many people take to Facebook to vent out their anger or emotions, which maybe momentarily, needless to say, emotions are subject to change according to the situation. In the search business, it is understood that queries often show user intent, which, as the Google case shows, can in turn be used to sell keyword-based ads.

You surely don’t want an old post to suddenly pop-up that is either embarrassing, too personal for public viewing or something that could possibly get you into serious trouble. The same choice can be made whenever you post — just underneath the status update page sits an audience option, which adjusts who will see the update.

Search FYI, in many ways, represents a big leap for Facebook in its quest to create a complete search ecosystem, much like Google does. “Today’s update gives Facebook a holistic internal search engine. Search FYI, according to what the company says, also resembles Twitter’s search facility, which indexes all the tweets about a particular event, either through a hashtag, or simply through search terms. While any like or comment on an older post will be indicated to the user, however, how many of you are really aware of the changes Facebook announces every other day?

The changes aren’t explicitly mentioned to every user, and not everyone digs into the long list of terms and conditions for privacy every other day.

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