Facebook Dumps Bing, Will Introduce Its Own Search Tool

It seems that Facebook quietly removed Bing as its primary search provider over the weekend, announcing plans to debut its own search tool on Monday, according to Reuters.

The report says that Facebook’s new search tool will give users the ability to filter through old comments and other information from friends.

Facebook has been building out its search products for a long time, using Bing as an extra layer to provide results beyond the Interest Graph in an effort to avoid letting rival Google into the system.

A Facebook spokesperson told Reuters: “We’re not currently showing web search results in Facebook Search because we’re focused on helping people find what’s been shared with them on Facebook. We continue to have a great partnership with Microsoft of lots of different areas.”

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Facebook revamps trending news to make it even more like Twitter

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Facebook’s Trending news section, which appears on the righthand side of each user’s news feed, is getting a refresh that will make it easier to find information and see different perspectives of the day’s most popular stories, including a Twitter-like live feed with user mentions.

The section is also coming to mobile devices for the first time, starting on Wednesday.

The social network first introduced Trending in January 2014 to give its users a look at the top stories of the day. Now the handy feature, which calls out about the top 10 most-shared news headlines at a given time, is making its way to mobile devices. By visiting the search bar on Android devices, users will be able to see a drop-down menu of the hot topics and stories circulating the site. (Facebook said it is working on an iOS update, too).

Adding the Trending section to mobile is a pretty big (and logical) move, but the company is also rolling out more ways to stay on top of news.

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Facebook Brings Graph Search To Mobile And Lets You Find Feed Posts By Keyword

Facebook is finally getting serious about search. Today it’s challenging Google for finding answers and Twitter for checking real-time chatter with the launch of keyword search. Two years after debuting semantic “My friends who…” search for people, places, and photos on the web, Graph Search is rolling out on iOS in the US along with a new keyword search option for dredging up old News Feed posts by friends.

Product manager Rousseau Kazi tells me Facebook’s personalized search results are focused first on helping people rediscover thoughts, experiences, and memories they saw in feed. Still, queries for “dentist” or “burrito” could surface recommendations from friends that compete with Google results. Meanwhile, a search for “Michael Brown” or “101 traffic” could surface a feed of recent mentions or news articles by friends, similar to Twitter.

There will be no ads on Facebook’s mobile search or any new keyword ads. But since keywords can carry lucrative purchase intent, I’d bet Facebook experiments with ads here eventually to see if they could become real revenue generators. Businesses would surely be willing to pay to insert themselves into results for “restaurant” or “lawyer”.

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Facebook Groups: Now there’s an app for that

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Facebook is breaking out yet another feature into a standalone app.

The social network rolled out Facebook Groups, an app to help users stay in touch with all of their Facebook groups and find new ones.

The app functions as a hub for everything related to groups on Facebook. Upon launching the app, users see a list of the groups they belong to, with the most frequently viewed appearing first.

Though groups already existed within the main Facebook app, they are not featured prominently within the app, unless you get a notification from a group you’re a part of. By breaking out the feature into a separate iOS and Android app, the company is hoping to make it easier for power users to engage with their groups.

And, as with Facebook Messenger, the company says a standalone app will make the service faster on mobile — though unlike Messenger, Facebook Groups is optional… for now.

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For ‘Facebook at Work’ to work, it will need to prove it’s worthy of our trust

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It’s not hard to see that Facebook’s (reported) “Facebook at Work” product could bring something unique and useful to the enterprise space. But regardless of what’s in the product, Facebook may not be able to offer trust.

The social network has so far limited itself to use in people’s personal lives and has stored away petabytes of photos of drunks and people making duck-faces. Of course, it’s also stored away lots of information on demographics, preferences, favorite discussion topics, group likes, etc.

Facebook has said that its business platform would be separate and distinct from the personal platform we all know. It’ll also offer a “groups” feature and messaging.

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The countries where Facebook censors the most content

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As Facebook expands, countries are increasingly interested in making content on the social network disappear.

Censorship on Facebook increased 19% between the first six months of 2014 and the last six months of 2013, the company revealed on Tuesday. But censorship isn’t distributed evenly; some countries are more trigger-happy than others when asking Facebook to remove content.

Facebook only removed some content in 15 of the 83 counties listed on the network’s third transparency report. India leads the list of content removal; Facebook restricted 4,960 “pieces of content” from the country between January and June 2014. Turkey and Pakistan follow closely with 1,893 and 1,773 “pieces of content” removed, respectively.

After India, Turkey and Pakistan, there is a big gap. Facebook only removed 34 pieces of content from the No. 4 country on the list, Germany.

A Facebook spokesperson said the company restricts access to content only when it is “illegal under local law.” Facebook doesn’t release many details on the content it restricts — or what laws the restrictions are based on — but does explain the reasons for removals in each country, in broad strokes.

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Twitter Launches Mobile Payments Before Facebook (but Apple May Have the Last Laugh)

Twitter may be much smaller than Facebook, but its ability to innovate in payments is allowing it to outgun its much larger competitor, at least for the time being.

Both Twitter and Facebook are competing with other tech giants, including Apple, Google, PayPal and the leading credit card companies to own the emerging mobile payment sector, which is immensely popular with consumers and has proven fertile territory for startups. More specifically, the leading technology companies are seeking an advantage in so-called peer-to-peer payments, which are typically smaller payments sent from one person to another. Individuals could use such payments, for example, when they are splitting a bill or to wire money.

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