A Real-Time Challenge: Facebook Search Now Pulls In All 2 Trillion Posts
Facebook search now returns results from all posts you have access to and better organizes results around real-time events.
Facebook’s search update today can be seen as a shot across Twitter’s real-time bow.
Starting today for US English language users, Facebook search will dig through all of Facebook’s 2 trillion posts and display those you have permission to see. The move expands upon Facebook’s last major search update last December, which gave people the ability to search within friends’ posts.
Now, the company is upping the ante by pulling in the full public conversation about search topics. It will also organize the results better, prioritizing posts from trusted news sources, followed by people and Pages in your network, then strangers. It will also display lists of popular quotes and phrases about a topic and show a snapshot of sentiment about it.
“When something happens in the world, people often turn to Facebook to see how their friends and family are reacting,” Facebook vp of search Tom Stocky wrote in a blog post. “Today, we’re updating Facebook Search so that in addition to friends and family, you can find out what the world is saying about topics that matter to you.”
Here’s Facebook’s description of the updates (which will be available on iPhone, Android and the web):
- Better search suggestions: When you tap into the search box and start typing, we’ll now offer timely, personalized search suggestions. As you type, we’ll highlight things that are happening right now so you can follow popular stories as they unfold.
- Search results with public posts and posts from friends: When you search, you’ll now see the most recent, relevant public posts along with posts from your friends. Search results are organized to help you cut through the noise and quickly understand what the world is saying about a topic in the moment. You also can pull-to-refresh and see the latest public posts.
- Find public conversations with search: When a link gets shared widely on Facebook, it often anchors an interesting public conversation. Now there’s a new way to quickly dive into that discussion. With one tap, you can find public posts about a link, see popular quotes and phrases mentioned in these posts, and check out an aggregate overview of sentiment. This feature is a first step—we look forward to people using it and giving us feedback so we can make it even better.
The improvements to Facebook search could make it more likely for people to follow current events on the network. Twitter has long dominated the social media public square but Facebook with nearly five times more monthly active users, Facebook is a real-time sleeping giant. Facebook isn’t yet talking about how to target ads within search, but you can bet that that will be coming. Facebook users already make 1.5 billion searches a day on the network, so monetization won’t be far behind.
As Stocky told TechCrunch: “Because the business model for search is so well understood, we know it will come when it makes sense.”