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Facebook Working on Better Search, But Won’t Rival Google, Engineer Confirms

Danny Goodwin
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Facebook is working to improve internal search for the social network. Also, don’t expect Facebook to become a direct web search competitor to Google any time soon. That’s the official word from Facebook engineer and former Googler Lars Rasmussen, who was recently interviewed by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Rasmussen admitted Facebook search “could be a lot better”, but unfortunately, the interview was light on details about what we can expect in the way of new features.

Facebook has already made some minor changes to its search functionality in recent weeks, such as adding the words “search for people, places and things” to its search box.

facebook-search-people-places-things

Rasmussen also said it doesn’t make sense “at this stage” for Facebook to do web search, as “Google does that so well.” Facebook is a partner with Google’s biggest rival, Bing, to handle web searches.

Inside Facebook also reported on a new test that adds “Search the Web” as an option in typeahead search results:

facebook-search-the-web-option

Clicking on Search the Web brings users to a Web Results page featuring Bing’s organic search results:

acquisition-facebook-web-results-bing

Facebook is also looking to hire three engineers who can “help build the next-generation search experience for Facebook to help 800 million people around the world find what they’re looking for in a quick, fun, easy-to-use way,” according to Inside Facebook.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tasked Rasmussen with upgrading Facebook search, even though Rasmussen wasn’t actually involved in search at Google before he jumped to Facebook in November 2010. Rather, Rasmussen helped create Google Maps and later spearheaded the failed Google Wave project.

As we’ve reported previously, the goal of the upgraded Facebook search engine is to make it easier for users to find shared or liked articles, videos, and status updates.


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