While Facebook currently provides its own powerful search product, there are numerous other search engines around the web that include social media. Here’s our list of the seven best ones.
Greplin is a search bar that aims to find desired results as it navigates through your social world. Choose to only search through Facebook, and it will pull up everything on the network surrounding the terms you wish to find. The service shows search results as you start typing for searches requests and the index is based on all the personal services you use (LinkedIn, Google Calendar, Facebook, Dropbox, Twitter, etc). In contrast to your local search on you computer this service has comprehensive results from all of your services which I could see being a priceless feature.
Just last week this company raised $4 million from Sequoia capital and we have no doubt this company has a bright future ahead. You can watch a video demo of the service below.
When Booshaka first launched last year, the service aggregated Facebook pages and let people search through all the posts by them. It was an interesting service, except it didn’t seem to catch on, which is why the company has gone back to work on the next version. While we’re not sure what the company has planned for the future, the first version of the search engine was comprehensive, even if not that useful. The only question that remains is whether or not this company can do something useful with the powerful technology that it’s built.
I had previously suggested that the company build a system to show what’s popular on Facebook rather than showing an unfiltered stream of content. We’ll have to wait and see what Booshaka comes up with!
In an effort to compete with Google more effectively, Bing has been looking to leverage its close relationship with Facebook as much as possible. Back in October the company announced that it would provide a comprehensive integration with Facebook, effectively turning Bing into a social experience. Google countered the Bing-Facebook partnership last week with their announcement about expanding Google Social Search.
As Matt McGee of SearchEngineLand wrote, the new Google Social Search uses Twitter as the “like.” Microsoft isn’t slowing down, though; just last week the company announced that it had integrated Facebook into the company’s Bing browser. As the battle between the two largest search players heats up, one thing is clear: Social is the future of search. If you are looking for a tool that leverages Facebook to help make web searches more relevant, Bing is definitely a good option.
With the help of Google, Foupas is a Facebook search engine that gathers information from various aspects of the site. Honestly, this product is probably one of the weakest search services we’ve seen. All the company does is wrap Google search results of pages on Facebook in a frame in an effort to generate some revenue from ads. The product adds absolutely no value over existing search services. If there’s one product you can skip, this is definitely it.
Kurrently shows what people are publishing right now on Facebook and Twitter. While it’s a little bit annoying to have the search results automatically stream down your screen, it’s the equivalent of what Summize was for Facebook. One odd thing about the service is that if there are no recent search results, Kurrently just keeps repeating the most recent update every few seconds.
While interesting in theory, Kurrently has a lot of work left to do. In essence it’s just pulling search results from Facebook and Twitter and showing them in a stream. We’re holding our breath until we call Kurrently a true search competitor.
Openbook garnered a lot of attention after Facebook first opened up its search results. Openbook was used by the media to illustrate that Facebook users don’t actually know what they’ve made public and what they haven’t. Unfortunately the service doesn’t really provide much over other services. At one point the product listed some “useful” searches which would yield users who were publishing public updates that the probably shouldn’t be sharing.
For example, searching for “hangover” shows a bunch of people that stayed up last night having one too many beverages. Ultimately there’s nothing you can do on this site that you can’t already do on Facebook, which is why this site served as nothing more than a publicity stunt. However, if for some strange reason you really want to search for public status updates and want to do so outside of Facebook.com, you can visit Openbook.
In contrast to some of the low-value search engines included in this list, Social Mention appears to be serious about social media search. The service provides a real-time analysis of what’s being discussed around the web and displays the results in an easy to digest format. The one problem with the product: The search results take forever to process! In fact, I couldn’t even stay on the site long enough to see my search results show up. If this company is looking to be taken seriously, it needs to provide their results quicker than it currently does.
While the analysis provided by Social Mention is valuable, nobody would use Google if it took a minute to generate results.