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Facebook Soups Up Search

Everybody's favorite waste of time is adding a new source of distraction: Facebook is upgrading its search tool to find far more of the content generated by the sprawling social network's 250-million-plus users.


The new search, as outlined in this post on Facebook's blog, encompasses not just the massive social network's more-or-less fixed landmarks--the personal profiles of friends, family members and random acquaintances; public pages by companies, organizations and public figures; groups set up to discuss one thing or another; and all those ridiculous applications you can add to your own profile--but most of its more transient fare:

You now will be able to search the last 30 days of your News Feed for status updates, photos, links, videos and notes being shared by your friends and the Facebook Pages of which you're a fan. If people have chosen to make their content available to everyone, you also will be able to search for their status updates, links and notes, regardless of whether or not you are friends.

About the only content that that the new search doesn't seem to cover is comments on updates, notes and photos or videos. So what's it good for? For one thing, this tool makes it easier to ego-surf. Type in your name, click the "Posts by Everyone" link in the left-hand column, and see all the strangers who have been chattering about you in their public posts... which in my case, amounts to all of one person.


But the new search can also help you catch up on chatter you might have missed. For example, when I limited my solipsistic query to updates by friends, I discovered that an old neighbor had noticed my quoting a song lyric in a status update, knew the song's author and called that to his attention on his own profile. That's kind of cool.

Like Twitter's search, Facebook's works in real time--I don't see any real lag between somebody posting something and those words showing up in a search. That, coupled with Facebook's acquisition of the Twitter-esque social-media site FriendFeed yesterday, has some industry observers seeing this move as Facebook's latest attempt to thwart Twitter's growth.

I don't know that a better, faster search will help Facebook in that quest. The fact that by default, you don't need to manage friends lists on Twitter makes that a better way to share your thoughts with the world (note to PR people: you're better off trying to connect with me on Twitter than on Facebook) before you even get into finer points like search tools.

But that doesn't mean that I don't appreciate the new search on Facebook. Have you tried it? If so, please post your review in the comments.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  August 12, 2009; 11:52 AM ET
Categories:  Digital culture , The Web  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Roku Player Brings MLB.TV to the TV
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No; I haven't tried the search on Facebook but then I don't have a Facebook or My Space account, can't see why I would need to Twitter (why would anyone be interested in what my immediate activities?) and can live comfortably with e-mail. But then, I also don't text on my phone, watch movies or do anything else with other than make phone calls (and not many of them).

Posted by: Dungarees | August 13, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I agree dungarees. Facebook, twitter, my space, blogs even, are inhabited by those who gaffaw at situation comedies when prompted by the laugh track.

I have a cell fone. It's a T-mobile. I rack up about 10 minutes a month on it.

Posted by: tchtic | August 15, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

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