Search on the social network could soon be getting a major overhaul as there are strong rumors of Facebook working on a new, improved search engine that will help Facebook users better sift through the huge volume of content created by its members on and off the site on a daily basis. The search would include status updates, articles, videos, and other information across the Web that people ‘like’ using Facebook’s like button all of which works pretty much to the benefit of the social network.
Citing two anonymous people familiar with the project, a leading Newsweek report stated that about 24 Facebook engineers, led by a former Google engineer Lars Rasmussen, are working on an improved search engine, however the social networking site is maintaining silence on the matter because of the mandatory quiet period ahead of its IPO release next month.
It has long been known that Facebook has not made search its top priority. But with Google pushing its way into the social search market with Google+ last fall, and with ComScore reporting that Facebook got a meager 336 million searches opposed to Google’s 17.6 billion searches in February 2012, it has forced Zuckerberg and his team to reconsider and act upon their current position in the search world. These reports have just intensified the ongoing competition levels between the two Silicon Valley giants.
With Google making an appearance in the social networking space, Facebook has every reason to start monetizing on the $15 billion search advertising market that it has not touched until now.
If the Businessweek report is true, and if Facebook does manage to develop a more potent search engine than Google, it might just be enough to encourage users to shift from Google to Facebook with few or no reasons to leave the social networking site at all; something Google might want to start thinking about.