Facebook clearly has some Google envy. Yet after Facebook’s latest search additions to its Web site, Google probably has some Facebook envy, too.
In a blog post on the company’s Web site Monday, Facebook said people could now search “status updates, photo captions, check-ins and comments” from both their own timelines and those of their friends.
Facebook said people could search for specific things by, for example, typing in, “Posts about Dancing with the Stars by my friends,” which will bring up any posts by their friends on the service who have commented on or shared content about the show. You could also search for “Pictures of me and my dog” to help find photos in which you’re both tagged, or “My posts from last year.”
In typical fashion, the update will probably scare some Facebook users who worry that it will affect their privacy — after all, who knew their comments would be searchable one day? Not me.
To pre-empt such concerns, Facebook pointed to its privacy shortcuts page, which allows people to review and hide past activities on the social network. The company also said it would be rolling out the new search updates slowly to a small group of people on the site.
Earlier this year, Facebook expanded its search features by allowing users to hunt through their network to find friends or other connections with a common link — for example, “women who like Mitt Romney and Nancy Pelosi and live in San Francisco.”
Facebook’s search tools, which the company calls “graph search,” are seen as examples of programs that are trying to compete with Google and other sites that offer search features, including LinkedIn for jobs and Yelp for restaurants. While the features are limited, Facebook’s ability to allow people to search semantically, by typing “Pictures of people I know who live in San Francisco,” rather than, “dog, San Francisco,” as you do on Google, could entice users to engage with the search features more.
While Facebook says the tools are designed to help people find better content on the Web site, it is also apparent that there are major advertising opportunities within these search products.
Source: The New York Times