Another big upgrade from Facebook: the company is currently testing search results which display articles ranked by likes. Additionally, the results for searches now shows the results from all around the web based on two things: the number of likes and the number of friends who liked that object, most likely leveraging some of the technology shown in their recently approved patent. We first received reports of these search results showing up earlier yesterday.
The search results have now become dramatically more relevant with the inclusion of recent news articles, something that previously wasn’t accessible via Facebook’s open graph search results. Currently, the search results only appear within the drop down from Facebook’s search box, however I’d assume that this will eventually shift to Facebook’s search area, which has yet to undergo a significant overhaul.
This new search shows how important Facebook’s Open Graph is to the future of the company. It also underscores the continued tension between the company and Google, who is working feverishly develop their own competitor to Facebook. If there was any question that Facebook has grand search ambitions, the increasingly relevant search results for any keyword should emphasize this shift. It also illustrates how the “like” is most definitely positioned to replacing the link. We’ve reached out to Facebook for comment on the new feature, however we’ve yet to hear back. Are you seeing these search results? What do you think of them?
Facebook has reached out to us with an update. The company has told us, “We launched the ability to see articles shared by your direct friends in the search typeahead. For instance, if your friend is on a news site and clicks ‘Like’ under one of the articles (which will then go into News Feed), when you go to search for that article on Facebook, it will surface in the dropdown.” Most significant is that the content displayed “is only available for articles shared by your direct friends (not globally to all users on Facebook).” Additionally, “This is not surfaced to you based solely on number of ‘Likes’ for the article.”
The key here is that Facebook is using the social graph (and other factors) to determine relevance.
Thanks to Jesse Ferrell of AccuWeather for pointing out the upgrade to us yesterday.