Each day, Facebook handles 1.5 billion searches against the 2 trillion posts in its index. Facebook is still a ways off from Google’s 3.5 billion daily searches, but it’s an impressive figure nonetheless and puts Facebook right up there as far as search giants go.
Of course, Facebook is only indexing content within its own ecosystem, while Google, Bing, Yahoo and the like make much of the web’s content available to searchers. Facebook’s launch of Search FYI aims to change that, bringing more of what’s going on in the world to searchers within their social network.
Here are 10 things you need to know about the new Facebook search, Search FYI.
In their announcement, Facebook promises, “As you type, we’ll highlight things that are happening right now so you can follow popular stories as they unfold.” No word yet on how Facebook autopopulates results as you type, but you can bet there’s an algorithm similar to Google’s Autosuggest at work.
Facebook is working trending public posts into search results, so if you’re looking for information about a current event or trending topic, you’ll probably see posts from media and influencers alongside posts from people you know.
When you search, the results are sorted into four different categories: Top, Latest, People, and Photos, allowing you to view them in any of those ways.
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According to TechCrunch, “Once you’ve chosen one or entered, you’ll get a results page personalized based on around 200 factors including what you Like and engage with, what you’ve searched for, and info about your identity.”
One great feature on Twitter is the ability to pull down on mobile to refresh the content at the top of the feed. Facebook added this functionality to its mobile search results, as well.
“When a link gets shared widely on Facebook, it often anchors an interesting public conversation,” Facebook said. With the new Facebook search, one click will display the most popular public posts connected to a specific link, allowing users to jump into the conversations on those posts.
When a popular post appears in relation to the link you searched on, you’ll see a “People Talking” indicator that let you know how many people are discussing it on public posts within the Facebook ecosystem.
CNBC notes that “Facebook’s search function will be able to surface old content so even posts you may have done years ago could be found. This of course raises questions about privacy. People who don’t want any future posts to appear on search can make them private.” Quartz has a good primer on protecting that embarrassing post you made 5 years ago from prying searchers’ eyes.
Facebook created a tag called Search FYI in their newsroom to keep users in the loop as they roll out new Search features and updates. Keep an eye there for other language releases, new functions, or any other improvements as they test and update Facebook Search.
Facebook’s new search functionalities are available now in US English on iPhone, Android and Desktop. Facebook notes, “Keep in mind that even if you can’t search for posts yet, you may still show up in results for people who already have it.”
Have you tried out Facebook Search since the update? Give it a shot and let us know what you think!
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