Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Facebook Social Search arrives!

While everyone is discussing the Friendfeed acquisition, Facebook have pushed on with scaling a major advance in the functionality of Facebook Search and the initial Facebook real time Search product experiments are now being rolled out.

Facebook say the new Facebook Search "will be able to search the last 30 days of your News Feed for status updates, photos, links, videos and notes being shared by your friends and the Facebook Pages of which you're a fan. If people have chosen to make their content available to everyone, you also will be able to search for their status updates, links and notes, regardless of whether or not you are friends."

New Facebook SearchFacebook - new categories for Facebook Search

So unless Facebook users have ensured that their privacy settings exclude their Facebook data from public view, it will now be showing up in public Facebook Searches:

- 'All Results' aggregates all Facebook information for the search and splits it out into relevant sub-categories ('Apps', 'Web Links' etc)

- 'People', 'Pages', 'Groups', 'Applications' show the relevant results for searches in each of these areas

- 'Web Results' are powered by Bing

- 'Posts By Friends' is the aggregate of all of the relevant information published by your Friends over the last 30 days

- 'Posts By Everyone' is the aggregate of all public Facebook activity

(*All of the information returned is from your own Facebook network + other users who have the 'share with everyone' privacy selection enabled.)

From a user perspective these changes make it easier / possible to Search inside Facebook, in real time, across all publicly available profiles (though some will clearly become uncomfortable at the risk of user data becoming public.)

For an advertiser this is a big insight opportunity. Facebook has such a large, multi-national user base that the opinions expressed by Facebook users have a huge worth if they can be analysed / aggregated across all of the 250 million Facebook users.

Facebook Search has historically been a weakness for Facebook, but there has always been massive potential if the Facebook user info could be effectively tapped (though to date Facebook has been the missing piece in the buzz monitoring jigsaw.) The new Facebook Search therefore looks like it might be a watershed in Facebook development, with the site becoming more open than it has ever been. Furthermore with the Friendfeed engineers now embedded, it would be surprising if Real Time isn't an area that develops quickly to become a major part of the Facebook advertiser offering.

Related posts

Digg, Friendfeed and Twitter - social search is finally here (?)

New Twitter homepage based around real time results

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