Is Facebook Looking To Threaten Google's Search Business?

by CXOtoday News Desk    Sep 01, 2014

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Facebook is working on a tool that will allow its users to search for posts using keywords. The company called the experiment an “improvement to search on mobile,” as industry watchers wonder whether CEO Mark Zuckerberg is making a huge move to threaten Google’s search business with its new initiative.

Reports suggest that some Facebook users on the mobile app have been given the option to search for old posts from their Facebook friends. However, there’s currently no indication whether the keyword search will roll out to all users, or if Facebook plans to bring it to the desktop site.

Zuckerberg considers an expanded version of Facebook Search a powerful tool, one that could even rival search engine giant Google, reports Business Insider. In the site’s Q4 2013 earnings call, Zuckerberg hinted he commented that “Search for Facebook is going to be a multiyear voyage.”

“There are more than a trillion status updates and unstructured text posts and photos and pieces of content that people have shared over the past 10 years, and indexing that was a really big deal, because as the number of people on the team who have worked on web search engines in the past have told me, a trillion pieces of content is more than the index in any web search engine,” said Zuckerberg.

Last year, Facebook launched Graph Search that helps members using desktop computers or laptops better navigate the vast amount of information at the social network, which is not available on search engines such as Google.

The limited Graph Search function was released in March 2013, and allowed users to perform basic searches to see, for example, which of their friends work at certain companies, or like specific pages. Facebook said that Graph Search is focused on information archived within the network and not designed to compete with the kinds of general online queries tackled by Google. However, a $16 million class action lawsuit was filed in a European court, seeking damages from Facebook for the “unlawful” introduction of Graph Search.

With the new ’search’ initiative, it needs to be seen whether the full-fledged search system on Facebook is accepted by its billions of users across the world or sees opposition from privacy campaigners like before in the coming days.