Facebook has begun rolling out a new version of its search feature, which it began testing with a select few last month. Of course, this would be real-time search, in the company’s latest effort to move into Twitter territory. The announcement of Facebook’s real-time search comes hot off the heels of their big announcement about the acquisition of FriendFeed, which comes with a pretty nifty real-time search engine of its own. But that’s a different story.
How important to do you think real-time search is to the industry? Interestingly enough, Google’s got its own project in the works that looks to have some real-time search implications. The company has announced a search update called “Caffeine,” which among other things is aimed at indexing content faster. “It’s the first step in a process that will let us push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness and other dimensions,” says Google’s Webmaster Central team. Perhaps Google can bring some added relevancy to real-time search. Well, Google already indexes content fairly quickly, even more so in recent weeks, as a matter of fact. The faster it gets at doing so, the closer it will get to real-time search, a direction the company has acknowledged that it needs to pursue. Google is still testing the Caffeine update, but it is allowing users a glimpse into it here.
With regards to Facebook’s own search, the company’s Akhil Wable says, “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. Search results will continue to include people’s profiles as well as relevant Facebook Pages, groups and applications.” Just search like normal, and then use the filters on the left side of the screen (on the results page) to adjust your results to view by people, pages, groups, apps, events, your own friends, etc. I would speculate that at some point, this real-time search functionality would incorporate more of what FriendFeed brings to the table. Searching FriendFeed gives you access to real-time results from all kinds of social networks – whatever the service’s users are sharing. Facebook could bring masses of people into the mix on that front, and make it far more useful as an all-encompassing real time search engine. We don’t know what they’re going to do with that yet though. Facebook does say that FriendFeed will continue to operate independently, but it will no doubt become integrated into Facebook in some capacity. As far as Facebook’s new search feature, the company reminds users that if they don’t want their stuff to show up in other people’s search results, they can adjust thier privacy settings accordingly. They’re still in the process of rolling the feature out, so you may not be able to use it just yet, but rest assured, it’s on the way.
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