Microsoft may have set its sights on reeling in Google Search, but perhaps so too has Facebook...?
The social networking giant has taken major steps into the increasingly pivotal realtime search market this week by launching a completely overhauled search engine and sealing the $50m acquisition of FriendFeed.
"You now will be able to search the last 30 days of your News Feed for status updates, photos, links, videos and notes being shared by your friends and the Facebook Pages of which you're a fan," said Facebook engineering manager Akhil Wable. "If people have chosen to make their content available to everyone, you also will be able to search for their status updates, links and notes, regardless of whether or not you are friends. Search results will continue to include people's profiles as well as relevant Facebook Pages, groups and applications."
Combine this with the addition of FriendFeed, an online content sharing service, and you create in one fell swoop a realtime search and content sharing platform that covers 250m Facebook users - a sizeable segment of the online community.
Now factor in the growing trend amongst web users to filter Internet information by friend recommendations and discussion forums and you suddenly create a far more structured and inviting search sandbox than the daunting open space of a Google search box. After all, with Facebook you are searching within content that has already been filtered for you by people you know/once met at a bus stop for five minutes and never talked to again.
Yes, these are tiny baby steps and numerous holes to plug, but the core theory is solid. After all, if Google can challenge Microsoft by building through the (then) backdoor of search, could Facebook challenge Google by building through our friends and colleagues?