Facebook announced an update to Graph Search on Monday that will enable users to search for conversation topics within status updates, comments and posts. Some users with Graph Search can now browse Facebook for topics of interest — for example, "posts about Breaking Bad" or simply "Breaking Bad."
The update also allows users to search for posts or comments from a certain time period or location (for example, "posts by my friends from last month") or posts that they already composed or commented on.
The update makes Facebook much more conducive to real-time conversations, an area where it has been making major strides to compete with the likes of Twitter. The two social networks have been competing for eyeballs during primetime television events like the Emmys, the NFL's Monday Night Football, and Sunday's Breaking Bad finale.
When users' eyes aren't glued to the TV screen, Facebook and Twitter want them to be having conversations or voicing their opinions on their respective networks.
Opening up Graph Search to enable post and comment searches will help Facebook to do so. When a user logs into his profile during a primetime event, he can quickly scan all conversations about the game or his favorite show — even if he isn't near the top of the News Feed. If a user want to talk about an event hours (or even days) later, he can search for all relevant conversations on Facebook, something users can't easily do using Twitter.
Facebook has been working to add partnerships around live media in an attempt to fuel this social conversation. Earlier this month, the social network announced a content deal with FOX Sports to promote Facebook data and conversations alongside live NFL and college football broadcasts. Facebook has also added features like searchable hashtags and verified accounts in an attempt to make finding topics of interest easier on the platform.
Facebook reported on its Q2 earnings call that 88 to 100 million people are actively using the social network during primetime television hours — a number that Facebook advertisers will pay close attention to.
Twitter is making similar efforts ahead of the company's IPO; the company is expected to file its public IPO papers as soon as this week. Just last week, Twitter announced ad partnerships with both CBS and the NFL, which will bring real-time video into your Twitter stream.
Facebook's search update is not yet available to all Graph Search users, according to a company spokesperson. It will be tested starting on Monday with a small group of users and will roll out more expansively after that. Users will only be able to search for content that has been shared with them, in addition to public posts. In other words, your conversations should not appear in a search run by someone outside of your network unless your comments and posts are public.
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