New Search Feature Released by Facebook on Apple Mobile Devices, Android Feature Update To Follow
It’s been two years since Facebook launched its Graph Search as a powerful search feature accessible only on desktop versions of the website, but it seems that Facebook execs have finally realized just how much the company could suffer if it continues to develop its desktop features while leaving its mobile-friendly features behind.
The Graph Search, which allows Facebook users to search for individual posts from other people in the past, has become one of the more popular features on the website; as Matt Southern writes for Search Engine Journal, a column that gives advice to people trying to increase search engine rankings, the feature allows users “to reminisce on conversations between friends from back when [they] first joined Facebook, or find that great article shared by a page last week.”
Functioning much like a regular search engine, the Graph Search allows users to type in keywords or phrases and find a variety of content related to it. Unlike Facebook’s previous search feature, which Business News Daily reporter Sara Angeles calls a “semantic search,” the Graph Search feature doesn’t require users to type in the exact phrase, name, or article title that they’re looking for. The feature works extremely well for both local and national searches, and users can instantly access everything related to the keyword, from photos posted by their friends to their own status updates.
In a world where social media platforms are dominated by instant sharing and, in many cases, instant deleting, Facebook’s ability to preserve meaningful content might just allow it to compete with social media superstars like Snapchat and Twitter.
But the problem, as many people have known for a while and which Facebook researchers have clearly noticed, is that Facebook’s intrinsic archival nature won’t be a valuable asset if it isn’t available on mobile platforms. Well over half of all local searches occurring on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, and the number of searches conducted on non-PC devices have more than quadrupled since 2012. If anything, it’s arguable that Facebook’s Graph Search update is pretty late to the party, and it wouldn’t be surprising if its two-year move into the mobile world has lost Facebook some user loyalty.
Nevertheless, “better late than never” is probably the best way to see this mobile update, and it will likely take some time before analysts can evaluate how well the feature is being received by mobile users. Facebook released the mobile-friendly Graph Search update for Apple devices on December 8, 2014, and it plans on releasing an Android update in the near future as well.