Do you ever see a post on Facebook that you mean to go and look at again or click through on the link, but when you check again, the news feed is refreshing you cannot find it? Facebook has finally added a new search function that allows Facebook users to search for keywords in recent posts made by those you are friends with.
This is a great upgrade from the graph search that was the only search option available to users on Facebook. According to Mark Zuckerberg at this year’s third quarter earnings call, there were over 1 billion searches performed each day on Facebook. However it’s very likely that many of those searches were simply people searching for users, and not doing a more detailed search. Graph search is very limited in what you can search for, while this new Facebook search allows you to search posts that have been shared a few.
It can also be great if you are looking for a recommendation for something. Maybe you want to see if any of your friends have recently gone on vacation to a certain place, or have mentioned an app or download that you would now like to get. It is easy to search for this now, whereas before – especially for those with hundreds or thousands of friends – it could be very hard to find.
You’ve given us a lot of feedback on the Graph Search beta. You’ve told us the most important thing is being able to find posts you’ve seen before, and now you can. With a quick search, you can get back to a fun video from your graduation, a news article you’ve been meaning to read or photos from your friend’s wedding last summer.
If you want to search using phrases like, “My friends who live in New York,” you still can.
Your search results are personalized and unique to you and, as always, you can only see things that have been shared with you.
The search feature is still pretty clunky. It will automatically default to group or people specific to that keyword. It is only a small option at the bottom, below groups, people and pages, where the magnifying glass is displayed, which needs to be clicked on to do the keyword search for posts. (The search option is shown below in red).
It also raises the question if Facebook will try and offer paid sponsored search results, if people begin using it more, both that display in the drop down and that display in the Facebook search results.
From a business perspective, it can also be used for competitive research, if you want to find out what friends are saying about a certain topic area or businesses, without having to ask them directly.
You can still adjust your settings on any Facebook post and it will affect search as well. You can select posts that can only be seen by yourself, and it will not come up in search. If you choose friends, only your friends can see those posts in their search results. And of course if it’s public, anyone can see it and search for it.
If you don’t have search enabled yet, it is expected to be released to all US English users on both desktop Facebook as well as those using the iOS app. However, mine has been enabled, despite being in Canada. So it does appear that it is available beyond strictly the US this time.
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