Web watchers have long speculated on the prospect of Facebook taking search more seriously, and what that would mean for rivals like Google. Now, according to Businessweek, the social network is almost ready to put said speculation to rest. “Searching the social network could get a lot better in the near future,” the magazine reports. About two dozen Facebook engineers, led by a former Google engineer named Lars Rasmussen, are working on an improved search engine, according to two separate sources.
“The goal, they say, is to help users better sift through the volume of content that members create on the site, such as status updates, and the articles, videos, and other information across the Web that people ‘like’ using Facebook’s omnipresent thumbs-up button.” At stake is the $15 billion search advertising market, not to mention the possibility of cutting off Google’s core profit center.
“It’s also a way to attack a chief rival, Google, which is moving in the opposite direction, from search to social, with its incipient Google+ network,” Businessweek notes. Yet, the magazine doesn’t expect Facebook to go toe-to-toe with Google for what it calls “algorithmic supremacy.” Rather, it will more likely make good use of its social data, which can apply to the problem of organizing information.