Facebook has updated its search to let users search through all public posts on the platform, reports The Verge. The company claims this will make over 2 trillion posts searchable.
Users will be able to search for vague terms, like India vs SA, and the platform returns various relevant posts starting with news organizations to the user’s friends, and then finally posts from strangers. Interestingly, Facebook isn’t branding this search as something new, but rather just making its search engine more powerful, a marked difference from its Graph search initiative.
Remember Facebook’s Graph Search? Neither do we
In 2013, Facebook extended its Graph search to include results for status updates, photo captions, check-ins and comments. The initiative was pretty crude as users need to type in queries like “Posts about Shahrukh Khan by my friends”, whereas now, they can simply type in SRK and get results from news, friends and strangers.
Facebook’s Graph Search also did not take off the way it had intended and the company ceased working on it. The Graph Search was a semantic search engine designed to provide answers instead of links through natural language queries. It set out to display data from over 1 billion users combined with external data into a search engine providing user specific search results. The algorithm would find this info from a user’s friend network.
MediaNama’s take: The current search results are frankly pretty sweet. Rather than tediously having to go through the entire feed looking at all the irrelevant stuff posted by friends, users can simply search for a topic by choice which will return more relevant results. This move also directly threatens Google’s primary business, as social context and interactivity takes precedence in search over raw content. Facebook’s results provide something Google’s results do not: the ability to like, add comments and generally interact etc., directly into the feed.
Changing privacy settings (opt-out sort of): On the flip side, users that have shared posts publicly will need to note their posts are now universally visible when searched for contextually. Wired has done a pretty helpful post on how to change your privacy settings to ensure posts aren’t publicly visible. Basically, click on privacy setting and under ‘Who can see my future posts’, make it just ‘Friends’. This will still make posts visible to friends when they search, so to avoid showing up on the results at all, mark the post ‘Only Me’.
Facebook video focus: Last month, Facebook introduced 360 degree videos in its news feed, where publishers like Star Wars, Discovery, GoPro, and NBC’s Saturday Night Live, along with other media companies, organizations, and individual creators would be able to publish 360 degree videos.
In March, the company introduced an embedded video player, a new social plugin that would enable publishers to embed native Facebook videos in a video player. Additionally, the platform previewed 360-degree videos in news feeds, that would let users choose the viewing angle to explore the surroundings.
Image source: Flickr user mkhmarketing