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Facebook Search allows US users to dig up posts from the grave for reference in potentially radical shake-up
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Facebook Search allows US users to dig up posts from the grave for reference in potentially radical shake-up

by Ben Wittams-Smith9th December 2014

In a blog post released today, Facebook has announced they are renovating their Facebook Search tool, spotlighting on users’ desire to search for past posts

Expected to be made available to all Facebookers networking in U.S. English over the next week or so, Facebook search has been modified on the basis of deductions made from users’ responses to the Graph Search beta, of which the majority expressed aspirations of easily locating posts they’ve viewed before.

But apart from yielding insights from users as to what they want from Facebook, the Graph Search feature appears to have largely missed its mark. It was initially hoped to act as a tool for people to locate nearby amenities & offer recommendations about relevant businesses to the user based on Facebook’s staggering wealth of user data. All these hopes rested on the premise that Facebook users would shift their search activity away from Google and traditional search engines, a hope that never materialised into an actuality.

“Most people, when they’re thinking ‘I want to go to a restaurant in New York,’ aren’t thinking of Facebook Search,” said Tom Stock, vice president of Facebook Search and author of the blog post, to Searchengineland.

However, as that pearl of idiomatic wisdom reads – ‘sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly’ – Facebook is seeing clearly and the vision is one of user-orientation; give the people what they want.

Though Facebook Graph Search is still functional, people continue to view Facebook as a social network (really…no kidding?!) and as such they want a user-friendly interface with the ability to reminiscently and constructively view past posts, and in accordance, Facebook has answered their calls. 

What kind of posts can be seen and how can users find them?

 

Using the Facebook search bar, you will only be able to access posts that have been shared with you, shared by friends/followers or followed people or that you yourself have shared.

So you will be able to search for you best mate’s 19th birthday (the one with the silly amounts of tequila & the pictures which are testament to that), or that contentious ‘frape’ which attracted over 100 comments on one thread, with complete ease.

But, users will also be able to type in random keywords in an innovative way of locating a particular service. For example, typing in North London Nightclub will provide users with an assortment of status updates from their friend’s archives focussed on the words ‘North London) and ‘Nightclub’, with the kind of insights you can expect from someone expressing an opinion of a rowdy night out via a status.

Facebook Search can also be used creatively to discover your friend list’s opinions about a foreign destination. Stuff the travel books, and search your holiday destination and information/recommendations and reap your friend’s fruitful harvest of things to do!

Any notions of finding random user’s past posts which are relevant to a particular keyword phrase remain fanciful, despite Facebook’s previous hints at this potentiality. Even if a user’s post was tagged as ‘public (anyone can see this)’, they will not pop up in your search results. However, this isn’t a prime concern of users who, according to Facebook’s findings, are more concerned with viewing friends and their own past posts.

Conclusions

So if you want to dreg up some old status updates you’ve shared with your friend list in the past – whether to learn something you’ve forgotten or simply to cringe at your past tone of voice – Facebook search provides a decent service. Its artificial intelligence service, which seeks to propel itself to unreached heights in the coming years, is very much in early stages and as such, Facebook Search will only get better.

Yet, it’s incredible in the innovation of its service, as it combines the social nature of Facebook with the immediacy of answers provided by a search engine. Sure reviews are useful, but sometimes you want to know what those a bit closer to home are thinking, and being able to trawl through various friends’ past posts about a particular restaurant in London is certainly something to be valued.

It’s wealth of data is breath-taking to behold – that is the edge it holds over Google and if it can find sharper ways of understanding, processing user feeling and answering queries with greater succinctness and a generally more enhanced artificial intelligence service, Facebook Search could prove veritably ground-breaking.

Facebook Search is mobile optimised – for iPhone, not android just yet – in addition to being desktop-ready, and will be rolled out within the next 2 weeks to everyone in the USA – It can’t come to the UK and the rest of the world fast enough.

 

 

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About The Author
Ben Wittams-Smith
Ben Wittams-Smith is a content writer for Just SEO and the Company Director of JSEO LTD. As a specialist in SEO, SEM and digital marketing, Ben regularly contributes content and provides analytic insight in these areas.

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