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Problems with Facebook Search

Published on 06 October 14
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I have been on Facebook since 2007 and one of the things that has always irked me about the service, amongst many other things, is their extremely poor search function. More specifically, using search to find content and posts from users.

In the last 5 years, FB has announced more than once, plans to revamp their search. First it was in partnership with Microsoft's BING search engine. Then they announced their ambitious 'Graph Search' which was remarkable in what it could do within the context of your Facebook friends, their activity and likes, as well as searching other users on FB. However, still missing was the search's ability to find actual content and posts. For example, if you wanted to find a post that a friend or coworker had made a few days or weeks ago, good luck finding it. You would have to go to their timeline to manually find it.

Is Facebook technically unable to add the ability for users to search content? I am sure they can but I am betting that they don't want to. Adding the ability to search for specific content would save users time on the website and that is not what Facebook wants. The company wants its users to spend as much time as they can on the website. More time means more advertising money and that is what it is all about for the bottom-line and in turn for shareholders. Also, the social network is all about what is happening in real time and doesn't care so much about what happened in the past.

Compare that to Twitter and Google+, two services I have used extensively for years, and you will find that the latter two have excellent searching capabilities. Google+, specifically, is excellent at finding specific content from users, going back years. And that doesn't come as a surprise since Google is all about search.

Should FB expand its search results to include specific results from users' postings? Seeing how over a billion people are on FB, adding terabytes of data everyday, finding something on FB is increasingly become like finding a needle in not just one but multiple hey stacks put together. So it is absolutely vital to be able to search for specific content and not just members' profiles and their likes, favorites etc.

In the tech world, you can't find two companies that are more bitter rivals than Facebook and Google. Though one is dominant in social and the other in search, the two are increasingly stepping into each other's territory. But think for a second of the potential if Google became the default search for Facebook. Both companies would benefit and people would be able to find what they want with ease. But that is like asking Apple to power their computers, laptops and routers with Windows. It will probably never happen...











I have been on Facebook since 2007 and one of the things that has always irked me about the service, amongst many other things, is their extremely poor search function. More specifically, using search to find content and posts from users.

In the last 5 years, FB has announced more than once, plans to revamp their search. First it was in partnership with Microsoft's BING search engine. Then they announced their ambitious 'Graph Search' which was remarkable in what it could do within the context of your Facebook friends, their activity and likes, as well as searching other users on FB. However, still missing was the search's ability to find actual content and posts. For example, if you wanted to find a post that a friend or coworker had made a few days or weeks ago, good luck finding it. You would have to go to their timeline to manually find it.

Is Facebook technically unable to add the ability for users to search content? I am sure they can but I am betting that they don't want to. Adding the ability to search for specific content would save users time on the website and that is not what Facebook wants. The company wants its users to spend as much time as they can on the website. More time means more advertising money and that is what it is all about for the bottom-line and in turn for shareholders. Also, the social network is all about what is happening in real time and doesn't care so much about what happened in the past.

Compare that to Twitter and Google+, two services I have used extensively for years, and you will find that the latter two have excellent searching capabilities. Google+, specifically, is excellent at finding specific content from users, going back years. And that doesn't come as a surprise since Google is all about search.

Should FB expand its search results to include specific results from users' postings? Seeing how over a billion people are on FB, adding terabytes of data everyday, finding something on FB is increasingly become like finding a needle in not just one but multiple hey stacks put together. So it is absolutely vital to be able to search for specific content and not just members' profiles and their likes, favorites etc.

In the tech world, you can't find two companies that are more bitter rivals than Facebook and Google. Though one is dominant in social and the other in search, the two are increasingly stepping into each other's territory. But think for a second of the potential if Google became the default search for Facebook. Both companies would benefit and people would be able to find what they want with ease. But that is like asking Apple to power their computers, laptops and routers with Windows. It will probably never happen...

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