Continuing the expansion of its real-time Web search, which was first announced in December, Google has added updates from Facebook Fan Pages to its data source. This allows access to Facebook’s three million Fan Pages, but not to data from all of the social media network’s 400 million active users.
This means that status updates, links, photos and videos shared on Fan Pages are now indexed by Google Real Time Search, making Facebook the latest addition to Google’s real-time initiative that includes Twitter, MySpace, FriendFeed, Jaiku, Indenti.ca, and most recently, of course, Google Buzz.
Comments made on Facebook Fan Pages by non-owners, however, are not included in the search index, nor are updates made on personal pages. As opposed to the massive amounts of data potentially available through Facebook’s network of personal pages, Fan Pages are generally owned by celebrities, politicians, businesses and brands.
While Facebook is granting full access to the much more voluminous public user updates to Bing’s real-time Web search, nothing is live yet and Bing’s index remains non-functional. How this all will affect the search-engine landscape, 90 percent of which currently belongs to Google, remains to be seen. But for the time being, at least, anyone hoping to capitalize on the latest opportunity to land on Google’s search index will want to explore Facebook Fan Pages—if they haven’t already.
Earning access to the Fan Pages rather than Facebook’s entire user network, theoretically, denies Google a significant amount of data for its index. But are updates from 400 million Facebook users what people want to find in their search results? We should have the answer when Bing’s real-time Web search eventually goes live.