New Facebook Search a Big Step Up

Tracking down that video of your nephew learning to walk that your sister-in-law posted to Facebook six months ago is about to get a lot easier. At least, that is what Facebook is promising users following an announcement Monday of improvements to its search feature. The update will be rolling out this week in U.S. English for the iPhone app and desktop.

Facebook has been testing its search feature, known as Graph Search, for years. "Search at Facebook is a long-term effort," said Tom Stocky, vice president of Search at Facebook, writing in a blog post about Monday's announcement. "Today is a step toward helping you tap into the experiences and perspectives of your friends."

More Compelling User Experience

In a conference call with analysts in January, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg chalked the long development time for the search function up to the sheer volume of data that users have uploaded to the social network.

"There's just so much content that people have shared on Facebook that simply building the infrastructure to index all of it and start ranking it is a multi-year effort," Zuckerberg told analysts on the call.

Users will now be able to search for people, posts, photos, places, Pages, Groups, apps and events on their timeline. They will also be able to search using specific keywords (such as "Caroline wedding") and receive a list of results. Members will also be able to search using longer phrases such as "friends who live in New York."

We reached out to Christopher Dodge, associate director at Strategy Analytics, for his thoughts on the announcement. According to Dodge, although the new search function is a big step up from Facebook's previous search, coming up with an improved version had not been a necessity for the company.

"It's really just an added benefit for...

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