WATCH OUT GOOGLE: Facebook Has An Ex-Googler And Two Dozen Engineers Working On Search

zuckerberg's desk

Photo: Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook

Facebook is working on revamp of its search product, report Douglas MacMillan and Brad Stone of Bloomberg BusinessWeek:About two dozen Facebook engineers, led by a former Google engineer named Lars Rasmussen, are working on an improved search engine, say two people familiar with the project who did not want to be named because the company is in a quiet period ahead of its IPO. The goal, they say, is to help users better sift through the volume of content that members create on the site, such as status updates, and the articles, videos, and other information across the Web that people “like” using Facebook’s omnipresent thumbs-up button.

Right now, Facebook is nowhere in search.  AOL, Amazon, and Ask deal with more search queries than Facebook, according to Comscore.

Facebook search may be powerful and lucrative. In a way, the people at Google think so. At least, they believe that there is something to using social data to improve the clickability of search results and search ads. That’s the whole point of Google+, after all. 

Facebook is going to IPO at a valuation close to $100 billion in May. If the stock pops, its market cap will be in the same zip code as Google’s. And yet, Facebook revenues are about 1/10th the size of Google’s. Meanwhile, Facebook ad revenues are actually decelerating. If search could even be a $500 million business for Facebook, that would be a meaningful bump.

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