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Facebook Is Seriously Revamping Internal Search… “Soon”


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For those of you hoping that Facebook might go on to compete head-to-head against Google’s bread and butter search, you’ll have to wait a little longer. But for those who are hoping for a serious improvement in Facebook’s internal search engine, you could be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

According to an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, Lars Rasmussen–the man in charge of Facebook’s search effort–says exciting things are coming soon.

Whether it is a job board or an internal search, Facebook has more exciting possibilities for making something interesting and disruptive than anyone else. Will they?

A disappointing product so far

Search has been a sore spot for the social network for as long as I can remember. It has never been good. There have been fits and starts, like its partnership with Microsoft of incorporating Bing search results. The implementation has been clumsy and does little to use the potential of what Facebook knows about your connections.

Rasmussen sees big potential though. “It feels like we have created critical mass in the social graph and that now there is this enormous, enormous thing that can be done with this graph, which we’re just starting to discover,” he said in that same interview with The Sydney Morning Herald.

While he gives no juicy details about it, he seems to be excited about what they are launching. The worse thing would be another round of a clumsy search that seems like more of an afterthought than a leap forward.

Google competitor? Not so fast

Do they have the horses to compete with Google on web search? Rasmussen says, “I can’t predict what will happen in the future but I don’t think it will make sense for us at this stage to even begin to think about doing web search. Google does that so well.”

A better idea would be to do something similar to what Bing has done with social search:

 

After they get their ducks in a row with their internal search, they could work to better overlay web results with information from a user’s social graph. That would be way more helpful to users and, more importantly to this audience, might have some value when it comes to sourcing.

I know many sourcers will be happy enough with an improved site search function. That will probably be enough to assert social network dominance for another day.

Lance Haun is an editor at The Starr Conspiracy, a marketing agency focused on the enterprise HCM market. He spent three years as an editor at ERE Media and seven years in the recruiting and HR trenches before joining the agency. You can follow him on Twitter, circle him on Google+, check out his blog or contact him directly at lance@coug.rs.
  • http://twitter.com/Sarangbrahme Sarang Brahme

    Facebook is loosing out a big opportunity by not allowing “search” facility. I definitely don’t suggest them opening up as wide as LinkedIn Recruiters but a basic people search will give a big boost to their social approach. 

  • http://twitter.com/selllikesybok Dave Galley

    “They should do what Bing has done, which is the same thing Google has done, just working off a different social graph?” you mean? ;)

  • Lance Haun

    Sure, Dave. I thought the comparison was more apt since it is a Facebook-based product. :)

  • http://www.booleanblackbelt.com Glen Cathey

    There’s this guy who’s always talking about how data has no value without the ability to extract value from it, which is dependent upon the ability to retrieve it and thus be able to analyze it for insights and actions. 

    I can’t recall his name, but anyway, he’d probably say that Facebook is sitting on a virtual diamond mine of human capital data, but they’re doing nothing with it except leveraging it for PPC advertising. Without surgically precise search and retrieval functionality, they’re missing at least half of the total opportunity.

    Man, I wish I could remember that guy’s name.
    :)