Mike Isaac

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With New Search History Feature, Facebook Gets a Teensy Bit Googley

So this is the kind of search Zuckerberg was talking about.

Facebook announced on Friday that it will add a search history feature to users’ Activity Log pages, allowing them to review any and all queries made inside of Facebook.com.

It’s minor, basically a drop-down recap of who or what you’ve been looking for when you type things into that little search box at the top of your news feed. Click the little button on your activity log and you can see everything organized by date and query term, via both desktop and mobile sites. And it’s just beginning to roll out today, so don’t expect it widely for another few weeks. Also of note: You can delete your search terms at any time, just like you can with the stuff you’ve shared through Timeline.

But it’s also an itty-bitty step over into Google turf, albeit inside of Facebook rather than on the Web at large. Just like Google’s drop-down menu of all the search terms you’ve made inside your Google profile, Facebook wants to make more complete its own user profiles and history. Sort of like what Facebook intended with the launch of Timeline, the complete history of what you’ve shared with the world through your profile.

In other words: Everything you share and do on Facebook is part of your story — including search.

Zuckerberg talked about just how powerful the company’s search capabilities are in an interview at TechCrunch Disrupt earlier in September:

“Search is interesting. We do on the order of 1 billion queries a day and we’re basically not even trying. Today with search the vast majority of it is people trying to find people, but there’s also a meaningful portion of queries where people are trying to find Pages, brand Pages, other business Pages — so there’s a bunch of that that actually does link to commercial behavior, and I think there’s a big opportunity there and we just need to go do that.”

He goes on to hint at larger ambitions in search:

“These are questions that you could potentially do at Facebook if we built out this system that you couldn’t do anywhere else. And at some point we’ll do it. We have a team working on search.”

So perhaps, with this minor first step, this is Facebook moving in that direction. Wonder what Google thinks about it?


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