Do a quick search on Facebook for “Haiti” and you’ll see the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of users rapidly updating their statuses expressing their empathy toward the people of Haiti, following the country’s catastrophic earthquake. In comparison to last week’s California quake which most people slept through, the volume of updates passing through Facebook is phenomenal.
It’s clear that the Haiti quake is devastating and by tomorrow, updates from the country will provide greater insight into the magnitude of the catastrophe. As the major media outlets are reporting, the quake which measured 7.0 on the richter scale, may be the largest quake in the region in more than 2 centuries. Whether or not Facebook’s search feature is a perfect tool, integration into the company’s homepage could help keep users up to date on recent news events.
While Facebook’s public search has seen more public updates since users were pushed through the privacy transition tool, there are still plenty of improvements that the company needs to make to the search product. More important is making this data available to developers who would kill to get a piece of Facebook’s real-time search product.
As Facebook users rush to share their thoughts and prayers for Haiti, Facebook search may be showing how it performs under the pressure of the most significant global event since millions of users had their status updates become public. As many would note, the quality of the information displayed within real-time results is not really valuable. Instead, tools which help us filter and make sense of real-time data will become more important as the volume of real-time data continues to rise.