Facebook retooling search around ‘like’ button

facebook searchGoogle splashed around in Facebook’s waters, re-delving into social networking with Google Plus, which recently melded social networking with Google’s search product. Now, Facebook has decided to work on search, though on a small scale to start. The company is working on a project to put its own house in order, and will make searching the vast social network much easier.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek sources, 24 Facebook engineers will be working on making the social network’s search function worthy of the nearly 1 billion active users. The team will be led by ex Google engineer Lars Rasmussen, who helped create Google Maps and Wave, and will focus on finding ways for users to navigate through the mountain of status updates, links, videos, comments and other content, using the Facebook’s “like” button as a guiding star.

Currently Facebook’s white search bar can hunt down other Facebook members, as well as brand pages, locations and groups, as well as a web search using the Bing search engine. However, Bloomberg points out that the search bar is a “crude tool,” fielding a lowly 336 million search queries last month—far lower than Yahoo, Ebay, Craigslist, Amazon, Microsoft and especially Google—and the search function yields poorly matched advertisements.

Bloomberg points out that re-tooling its search feature could mean Facebook is getting more serious about making money, as it could dig deep into the $15 billion search advertisement market and follow Google and Microsoft by “selling relevant keyword ads alongside results.” Time will tell whether social network gains enough web momentum through its “like” button proliferation to finally knock Google down, but for now Facebook will have plenty to work with within its own walls.

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