“Facebook dumps Microsoft Web search results“, that was the juicy headline for Reuters’ scoop a couple of days ago:
The move, confirmed by a company spokesperson, comes as Facebook has revamped its own search offerings, introducing a tool on Monday that allows users to quickly find past comments and other information posted by their friends on Facebook.
On my post after Facebook’s announcement of the new search tool, I speculated that these Google-like search capabilities are Facebook’s aim. Now it appears that indeed that was the case, with Facebook realizing the true value was found not in searching the generic web content but rather in searching its valuable user history (posts, likes, comments, etc.), which reflects the true things that interest people:
We’re not currently showing web search results in Facebook Search because we’re focused on helping people find what’s been shared with them on Facebook
Facebook has been focusing on big data management in general and search capabilities in particular for a while now, investing a lot in both internal research and collaboration with the open-source and academia. The result was an elaborate big data analytics engine underneath the hood of the new search tool.
Building big data search engine is hardly trivial. Microsoft has gained a lot of mileage on that with Bing, and Google reportedly holds 67.6 percent of the U.S. search engine market share. However, Facebook’s database of its users’ interactions may very well be the asset to tip off the balance in favor of the newcomer. As Facebook’s CEO Zukerberg said last July:
There is more than a trillion posts, which some of the search engineers on the team like to remind me, is bigger than any Web search corpus out there
Having this valuable big data, combined with Facebook’s aggressive innovation and collaboration with the community, will enable it to close the gap, and perhaps take the lead.
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