Google is doing a global release of social search. Sixteen languages at once. Sounds like lots of sleepless nights and RedBull in Silicon Valley. Social search will put links from your friends at the top of your search results. It will be more friendly or like friends have recommended certain things. (Mashable article and Google’s How it Works video.)
Facebook is mad
Facebook is really worried about (or scared or mad about) Google’s social search tool. So much so that they hired a PR firm to bad mouth it. Most people I know consider what they did playing ugly. They got caught. But, I don’t expect that bothers them.
I don’t spend much time thinking about the soap opera unfolding between the Silicon Valley neighbors. I’m more interested in how social search effects me. This whole thing got me thinking about how I use search in different contexts. Google vs. Facebook.
- Google is a search Master. It searches everything. I expect them to include social.
- Facebook search is 2 things – it searches page/profile names within Facebook and it uses Bing to bring up a handful of web-wide results, way down at the bottom of the page.
Here is how I use each one.
My browser’s default search engine is set to Google. If someone else sneaks me over to Ask.com or Yahoo.com I go back and re-search on Google. A recent update to my Weather.com desktop app snuck in a change to Ask.com as my default search engine. (Despite UNchecking the box during installation.) I change it back to Google. And BTW – I think less of Weather.com because they tried to pull a fast one.
When I’m on Facebook I search for pages and profiles and apps within Facebook. I’m not looking for web-wide results. Bing puts a few options at the bottom, but I hardly ever click on them. Why? Because I’m looking for a Facebook Page. The only time I ever click through to the Bing result is if I’m frustrated at not finding the particular page on Facebook, so I go to the company’s website in hopes there’s a link back to Facebook there. It is hard to find the right page within Facebook. Yesterday I searched for a local boutique called Polka Dots. There are dozens of Facebook Pages called Polka Dots. They were all dead ends. I searched over and over. I never did find it. So when stats say Facebook search is the #2 search tool, I question why. My experience is that it’s because it’s so hard to find the right thing. (Of course that’s because so many businesses set up their page based on local thinking, and Facebook is a global platform.)
How do you use the search functionality within Facebook?