Facebook is working on improving its search engine, but a company executive says it doesn’t make sense “to even begin to think about doing web search” right now.
Lars Rasmussen, Director of Engineering at Facebook, made the comments in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.
He told the paper that he’s “working on something very specific which is super exciting,” and admitted that Facebook search “could be a lot better.” But, he says, the speculation about Facebook getting into web search is premature.
“There are occasional articles out there about how people either speculate about us doing web search or people encouraging us to do web search,” he says, dismissing these reports as journalistic scuttlebutt.
“I can’t predict what will happen in the future but I don’t think it will make sense for us at this stage to even begin to think about doing web search. Google does that so well.”
Rasmussen’s background only adds to the speculation. He founded Where 2 Technologies, the company that Google bought in 2004 and turned into Google Maps. While working at Google, Rasmussen also co-created the Google Wave project. He’s been at Facebook since late 2010.
He tells the Sydney newspaper that his project is related to improving Facebook’s on-site search, a subject that’s been discussed before. Web search is a small, almost hidden piece of what Facebook offers. If a user searches and chooses “All Results” at the bottom of the initial search results dropdown, “Web Results” is one of a dozen filter options on the results page. The results come from Bing.
Within the last two months, Facebook tweaked the text in its search box — suggesting that the company wants users to be more aware of what search offers and how to find things in the mass of content that users are posting on Facebook. The box used to just say “Search,” but now invites users to “Search for people, places and things.”
And there are, of course, financial implications involved in all of this. Facebook recently began testing ads in its search results.