Facebook testing real-time search before Twitter becomes defacto

Facebook testing real-time search before Twitter becomes defacto

Summary: Facebook has announced the testing of a new feature that would allow its members to search the site for things their friends and others are saying and sharing about particular topics - from links and comments to photos and videos - all in real time.Yes, I know it sounds an awful lot like Twitter Search, which allows anyone - not just members - to tap into the keywords of Tweets to get a sense of what's being said about a particular topic at any given moment.

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Facebook has announced the testing of a new feature that would allow its members to search the site for things their friends and others are saying and sharing about particular topics - from links and comments to photos and videos - all in real time.

Yes, I know it sounds an awful lot like Twitter Search, which allows anyone - not just members - to tap into the keywords of Tweets to get a sense of what's being said about a particular topic at any given moment. The advantage that Twitter has over Facebook, of course, is that anyone can see the tweets. By default, Twitter is a public forum.

Also see: Why Facebook can't open up like Twitter: Life doesn't operate in 140 characters

Facebook, on the other hand, can offer more than 140 characters and a link in its results. Being able to see results in a number of ways - photos, videos, and so on - offers deeper insight into the topic being searched. In its blog post, the company says:

The people around us are a powerful source for finding information about new and interesting information — from the latest on last night's episode of "The Office" and suggestions on what to do for your next vacation to current events.

I'm interested in the latest updates on the aftermath of the Iranian election. By entering the term "Iran" in the "Search" field in the upper-right corner of any page on Facebook, I will see up-to-the-minute results from my friends and the Facebook Pages of which I'm a fan, not to mention people who have chosen to make their profile and content available to everyone. I'm able to discover what blogs and news sources my friends are following, what my friends are saying about President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, and how people in general are reacting to the election results.

For now, Facebook is testing the feature on "a fraction of a percent" of its membership. It's also important to note that Facebook has heard loud and clear from its membership in the past that privacy is important. In its blog post, it reminds users that they maintain control over who sees what and offers a link to the privacy settings page.

I think it's great that Facebook is jumping into real-time search and it's smart to run this through a small test group first. It's early in the business of real-time search of social media and there's still time to decide what it will become. Just because Twitter had the jump start is no reason for Facebook to back off and let it become the defacto source for what's being said in real-time.

Competition. It's a good thing.

Topics: Browser, Social Enterprise

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5 comments
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  • Competition is a good thing when you're in it...FB vs Twitter

    Keywords "public forum." Facebooks control access to the public. If they opened the network, would be no need to catch up to twitter. Facebook feels like prison, locked down to one cell block, looking at the same people day after day. Twitter is freedom.
    DryerBuzz
  • Facebook will have issues.. because

    Future of search will be real-time. I think.. Facebook
    does not have the architecture to support the real-time
    search.

    In that context, Google search engine architecture will
    never be able to provide real-time search. Hence I am
    using google less and less now a days.
    ThyagaV
  • RE: Facebook testing real-time search before Twitter becomes defacto

    Real time search does not exist yet. As long as the search engine is between the users and the websites it is not called Real Time Search. I have the patent for it and will bring it out to the search market soon.

    Isaac

    Isaaclevi
  • RE: Facebook testing real-time search before Twitter becomes defacto

    Real time search does not exist yet. As long as the search engine is between the users and the websites it is not called Real Time Search. I have the patent for it and will bring it out to the search market soon.
    Isaac
    Isaaclevi
  • good idea about facebook

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    gavin.chan