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Facebook adds search feature; the 1st step in taking on Google?

September 21, 2012|By Jessica Guynn
  • "Facebook is pretty uniquely positioned to answer the questions people have," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said this month at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco.
"Facebook is pretty uniquely positioned to answer the questions… (Max Morse / Getty Images )

Is Facebook getting serious about search?

On Friday the giant social network began rolling out a new feature that lets users see all of the searches they’ve done on Facebook.

The move comes after Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook planned to expand into search, which rival Google dominates.

“Facebook is pretty uniquely positioned to answer the questions people have,” Zuckerberg said this month at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco in his first public remarks since his company’s initial public stock offering.

Facebook already handles 1 billion search queries a day, Zuckerberg said, without “even trying.” He also said Facebook would “at some point” build a more powerful search engine.

Right now users mostly search Facebook to find other users. But Zuckerberg sees greater possibilities such as recommendations from friends.

“We have a team working on search,” Zuckerberg said.

The new feature, which will be available to users in the coming weeks, hardly qualifies as a major step forward in search. Facebook tweaked its Activity Log to let users see a record of their searches and delete any they want. Facebook emphasized that no one other than the account holder can see the log. The feature is designed to give users more of a sense of what they search for on Facebook and more control over what Facebook tracks.

Once the feature is activated for users' accounts, they can check their search histories by going to their profiles and clicking on the Activity Log on the right-hand side. The feature is only available on desktop computers.

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Follow Jessica Guynn on Twitter @jguynn

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