Facebook Continues to Improve in Search

By: Chris Crum - February 22, 2011

I wrote an article a couple months ago, asking: What if Facebook goes search while Google struggles to go social? I looked at some of the things Facebook has done related to search, and made the case that the social networking giant has a lot of potential for becoming a bigger player in search in general. 

Now, they’re making more adjustments to Facebook’s internal search feature, which make it more useful. They’ve started separating the results that appear automatically into different sections. This includes things like: People, Pages, Apps, Groups, Shared Links, etc. 

Facebook Search Update Separates Categories

Google is in the process of rolling out a significant update to its social search feature, throwing social results into the mix (as opposed to separate at the bottom of the SERP). A glaring hole in Google’s offering, however, is a lack of Facebook data – arguably the most important social data there is, given that Facebook has so many more users than any other social network. It would be nice to see articles "liked" and shared by Facebook friends in Google’s results (luckily Wajam adds some Facebook data to your Google results if you install a browser extension). 

Last fall, Facebook started adding "liked" articles to the search results. "Consistent with how we treat other Open Graph object types, we’ve introduced the ability to see articles shared by your friends in the search typeahead," said Facebook’s Namita Gupta.  "For instance, if your friend clicks ‘Like’ on an article at a news site, the article will appear in your News Feed and can now also surface in the search typeahead."

Now, with "shared Links" they’re organized better, and often appear above other results.

Facebook has the strongest collection of person-to-person interactions on the entire web. You’d be hard pressed to find many authoritative sites that don’t have some kind of Facebook integration, even if it’s just "like" buttons. As long as Google doesn’t provides this information in search results, it’s never going to be as good as it could be. 

This is one reason why Facebook is a potentially dangerous opponent of Google’s. To reiterate points made in my previous article, it’s not that far-fetched to see Facebook put more emphasis on search the way Twitter did, and Facebook already uses Bing for web results, and could easily fill in the gaps with those results. Bing has no qualms about supplying search results to other major search engines through the back-end (see Yahoo deal). What if Facebook just became a real search engine competitor – instantly personalized, with some sections powered by Bing. They’ve already pushed for users to make Facebook their home page

Let’s also not forget that Facebook recently acquired search company Chai Labs (founded by a former Google exec), and has stolen many Google employees away.  Also remember that Facebook has also been encouraging the addition of different types of information to be added to its internal network with things like Facebook Questions and Wikipedia-like community pages. In time, Facebook Places (combined with Bing Mpas) could evolve to power some powerful local results too.

And you never know what future acquisitions Facebook might make, which could play their own roles. 

Should Google be nervous? Tell us what you think

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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  • http://www.Rudaminas.com Web solutions

    I don’t think that Google needs to make attention to this side.
    All will know Google like a search engine – and after 100 years.
    And FB will be always a place for friends, and photo sharing. And for “like” :)

    • Yes

      I think you are underestimating Facebook. Of course Google is worried about anything Facebook does. They know Facebook is their biggest threat. It doesn’t matter if Facebook is only known as a place for friends or whatever. They have millions of eyeballs and cult like which is devastating to Google. Imaging everybody on the web liking it. Also has tentacles deep in the web and has surpassed Google in traffic; you can’t ignore that! A search box on FB’s home to page to search the web would be devastating to Google’s stock. I have no doubt FB will dethrone Google in search within 5 years. They are going at it in a sneaky way. Pretty soon we’ll here the big news. That will be the end of Google.

  • http://www.skymaxmarketing.com New England Web Design

    Google certainly needs to be proactive against potential competitors in search and local advertising (Facebook, Groupon, etc.) but I highly doubt anyone is biting their fingers over Facebook’s emerging search technology.

  • http://naturalwhiteningteeth.org/ Lejoan

    Google should really worried if facebook enter the world of search. Imagine facebook account with just one click to search anything you want to search? That’s pretty cool to me!

    I really spend more time in facebook than in google, I just go in google when i need to search something and it annoyed me when i search something then the result is mostly from ehow, ezinearticles and other article directly. I would rather choose to click a search result with domain related because i will though it is more about that thing i am searching and not from one page article directories.

    Google should really drop those article directories from their SE result. When researcher found the result from ehow, ezinearticles and other directories it is a big turn off. We know researcher well about those article directories and it really doesn’t help. We want a highly focus site about the niche we are searching and not from article directories only.

    Facebook can beat google, just give their user a good results whenever they search in them. Do not be bias with other that when the media sites request to opt out their site from dropping out in the SE result they will consider. That is the BIG problem of google, they consider those media sites like ehow to be affected their algorithm.

    Facebook also have millions of strong users and counting. Most of them logging in to facebook daily or many times a day. If there is one click for searching in the facebook interface then why spend time going to google?