The social network has deployed two dozen Facebook engineers onto the ambitious project, led by former Google engineer Lars Rasmussen, to radically improve the search engine currently available on the social network, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.
According to the magazine’s unnamed sources at the social network, the goal of the project is “to help users better sift through the volume of content that members create on the site, such as status updates, and the articles, videos, and other information across the Web that people “like” using Facebook’s omnipresent thumbs-up button”.
Facebook has done very little to improve or monetise its search engine, which currently lets people find other users, brands, status updates and some wider web results – through a long-standing partnership with Microsoft’s search engine, Bing.
However, it has yet to properly focus its attention on the small search engine box situated at the top of each users’ page.
By doing so, Facebook is going after Google’s territory, just as the search giant is moving in the opposite direction and going after social, through its launch of Google+.
Drew Olanoff, West Coast editor of technology site The Next Web, thinks Facebook can create a very different search experience to Google – by using the huge amounts of personalised data it has on people.
“By cropdusting the web with “Like” buttons, Facebook has a huge set of data and information curated by all of us…Now if Facebook wanted to “improve” its search, it wouldn’t be as simple as making an algorithm that mimics the experience that we have today on Google.
“With lists, subscriptions, likes, and location data, Facebook could let us perform a very direct query with a finite group of people. Basically, a set of our friends or colleagues would be our “search engine”. What would that experience look like? Well, I imagine that you’d type a natural language query and then drill down to whose data you’d like to use to perform the search.
“For example: [if] I wanted a taco, I wouldn’t necessarily type taco into an open search box like I would on Google. I’d choose a location or a group of friends and then search for “taco”. Based on where they’ve checked in on Foursquare or Facebook, or things that they’ve ‘liked’, I could be given results to check out.”
A Facebook spokesman declined to comment.
Link to full article here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/9175326/Facebook-creating-social-search-engine.html