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Facebook's New Search Test Continues Faceoff with Twitter

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Recently, Facebook launched a live feed, something many believed to be a move to compete with Twitter. Now, those competitive intentions seem even stronger with a new search test being rolled out by Facebook.

A small, select group of Facebook users will have the opportunity to search content on the social network as soon as it is published. Testers can search their news feed as well as the live feed of those who publicly post their Facebook content.

I can see how it would be very useful to search your news feed to see who's talking about a sports game you're watching, a new movie that's out, a political action in Washington or the ups and downs of Wall Street. That way you can skip sorting through all of the updates yourself to see just the ones you're interested in at a given moment.

With the live feed, search opens up networking opportunities and the ability to track current events via Facebook.

Last October, Facebook integrated Microsoft's Live Search to provide search for the social network. It will be interesting to see if Bing plays a role in the search test (and if perhaps Bing will serve up Facebook updates in their results).

Of course, last year Twitter acquired Summize, which was a search service based on the Twitter API. Since then, Twitter has incorporated the search into its site, going from being "just" a subdomain to being added to the front page. The feature allows Tweets to be searched as they are posted.

Even before the acquisition, people were beginning to turn to Twitter for search. Many times asking your network of friends and followers returns a result faster than sorting through results for yourself.

Despite Facebook's dominance (the site recently reached the 200 million member milestone), they seem to not be taking their strong position for granted. Competing with the new kid on the block shows that they are keeping up with the trends, something that is usually the death of social networks. But Facebook seems be very well aware of the public's insatiable thirst for immediate news and updates. It may be the thing that gives them staying power.


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