Facebook Onsite Search Fails

Facebook search results more similar to Google results than Bing, so who is really powering Facebook onsite search?

Facebook continues to expand its platform and improve the user experience but it seems that it is still struggling to provide a better onsite search functionality using Bing even after the February blog announcement Facebook on search.

Facebook has well over 400,000,000 members but outside its new search as you type for friends and current pages/groups you are associated with, it is still well behind where it should be.

The best advances in Facebook onsite search seems to be the “Did you mean Facebook mobile?” shown in the search results image below. Of course there are some stylised features such as the Facebook Mobile favicon showing but its still not the most ground breaking results.

The first result is for a Musician and only the second result has a slight relevance as it is for LG Mobile’s fanpage.

The results are often assumed and low quality or unrelated Facebook fanpages or groups are shown in the results.  The results still don’t seem to be weighted by geographic region, users preferences or past onsite behaviour.  The onsite search seems to be a secondary feature but since the new design places the search so prominently at the top of the page, you could assume Facebook wants you to use it more.

The biggest problem that affects the user experience is that Facebook’s onsite search seems to be more closely related to the Google “I’m feeling lucky” button that takes you directly to the first result when using the top search box as shown in the image below.

The Facebook onsite search results are quite close to Google’s “did you mean” shown in the image below which seems to conflict with its agreement with Bing to power its search.

Bing’s search results show a “were you looking for” when it’s decision engine is unable to fully understand your search query.

I’m not saying that secretly that Google is powering Facebook’s search algorithm but it seems to be training users to be conditioned to the Google terminologies and not Bing’s.

The point of interest is that this statement and placement seems much closer to Google results than Bing, so who is really powering Facebook onsite search and why not use a different statement?