Facebook is testing a new feature designed to allow users to leave real information on their platform seeking real information, rather than turning to Google or Wikipedia,media reported. The company confirmed to TechCrunch that it is experimenting with an updated version of Facebook Search that allows users to display real information when searching for public figures, places and interests.
For example, entering the name of a movie in Facebook’s search bar will see an information box that provides information about all the details of the movie.
The information is understood to come from public data, including Wikipedia. But instead of asking users to click Facebook to view information, it appears in the side panel next to the search results. This is a bit similar to the Knowledge Panel format that Google automatically generates in the same type of search.
Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch that the feature is a pilot project that is currently running in English on iOS, desktop clients and mobile networks.
However, as a new player who has just entered the field, it has not performed as well as it should have been. When searching for a “joke” movie, for example, it jumps out of information from Wikipedia, but doesn’t get any information when searching for the Best Picture Oscar for “The Parasite.”
At the same time, it’s easy to see information panels about the U.S. president when searching for “Donald Trump,” but no information about the President appears when searching for the names of many of his cabinet members. For example, when you type the word “Anthony Fauci” in the Facebook search box, the new virus expert’s information appears on the sidebar, but it doesn’t appear when using “dr.fauci” as the search term.
Google’s Knowledge Panel doesn’t have this problem because it can visually determine who, where, or something users might be searching for when they query.
This is not the first time Facebook has used Wikipedia data to enhance its service. As early as a decade ago, it used information from Wikipedia on its community page.
Unfortunately, Facebook didn’t provide further details on how long it plans to test the new search feature, or when it is expected to be rolled out more widely.