Facebook: No Sense “To Even Begin To Think About Doing Web Search” Now

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.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Facebook


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • http://twitter.com/byteLaunch ByteLaunch

    It is good to see that Facebook realises they are not ready to become a search engine and realise that Google is far ahead of them in the search game.  There are too any people speculating about Facebook trying to complete directly with Google and become its own search engine despite having partnered with Microsoft to assist with Bing searches and vise-versa.

  • Shashank Gupta

    Even I would like to use Facebook for Social Networking purpose  .And I am sure many users out there agree with me.I guess Google is a huge competitor in SE race.

  • Christian Noel

    I think FB will ultimately add a true search engine. It only makes sense. If FB doesn’t do this they remain a kind of standalone product/service which is subject to the fickle whims of their members. They will always be in danger of losing their membership and audience to the next thing that comes around (see: Friendster, MySpace).

    By adding a search engine they attach themselves more fully to an internet users web experience. It is the reason why Google has Google+. Presuming Google’s Search Market Share stays the same and they figure out social then that will disincentivize people from switching over to FB from Google. Why would you?  Your social network service is already attached to the Search Engine you use. Everything is in one spot.

    Eventually Google will perfect Google+ to compete more aggressively with FB not just in terms of adoption numbers, but also in usage. It would be in Facebook’s best interest to get ahead of this now instead of trying to catch up later.

    People can disagree with me and probably will, but I will say FB either creating its own search engine or buying Bing from MS makes alot more sense to me than $1B for Instagram. However, that’s just me.

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