California Quake Highlights Strengths And Weaknesses Of Facebook's Real-Time Search

An earthquake in Northern California this morning went unnoticed by hundreds of thousands of people, however Facebook noticed and was able to surface the statuses of those users who felt the quake and those who didn’t. Using Facebook search as a source for real-time information is something that was only recently made available, but with the recent privacy transition tool that users had to go through, much more information is now available with Facebook search.

When we first covered Facebook’s new real-time search features back in August, we highlighted some of the weaknesses of search as well as some of the strengths. Facebook’s privacy transition tool has clearly resolved some of the issues about increasing the volume of public content published through the Facebook stream. However Facebook’s communication model is fundamentally different than Twitter, who appears to have a greater volume of public updates, perhaps a result of their “Trending topics” feature within Twitter search.