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Facebook Is Seriously Revamping Internal Search… “Soon”

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Jul 26, 2012
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

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.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.