Facebook Tests Its First Search Operator, a “Quick Link” to Photos

Facebook is testing a new “Quick Link” feature in its search interface which lets users jump straight to the “Photos of…[User Name]” page by including “photos” in their search. The link to user’s tagged photos was previously only accessible beneath a user’s profile picture on their profile. Search operators like this could streamline common navigation flows.

In the past few months, Facebook has added Liked Open Graph objects to its internal search, and Liked news stories to the search typeahead. This is the first time we’ve seen the typeahead recognize search operators.

When users who are part of the test first go to use the search bar at the top of a Faceboook page, they see a a tooltip pop-up explaining that they can use the operator “photos” then a user name to see the Quick Link. The tooltip also gives a recommendation of a friend to try the feature on. Upon searching “photos” with the name of a another user who’s tagged photos a user has access to, they’ll see a “Photos of [User Name] Quick Link” item in the typeahead drop-down.

This experiment could signal a future where users could type in search operators such as “videos”, “Notes”, “Events”, or “Places” to instantly access different content associated with a specific friend. The feature would give power users the benefit of expedited navigation without cluttering the search experience of more casual users with additional buttons or options.