Facebook search: What’s the big deal?

There’s a large brouhaha (or perhaps it’s a kerfuffle) brewing in the blogosphere over the fact that Facebook has opened up its network to search bots from Google and others, something that was blocked by default in the past. This has caused a furore over the loss of privacy as those listings get indexed and start appearing in Web searches.

privacy.jpgI have to confess that I don’t really see what all the fuss is about. First of all, you can change your privacy settings so that you aren’t indexed. And secondly, even if you are indexed, all a search will turn up is a box with your name and profile picture in it — big whoop. If you’re hiding from America’s Most Wanted, or a jealous ex, that might be a concern. But if that’s the case, why are you putting that stuff on Facebook in the first place? And even if you do, you can choose not to have it displayed in a search.

As my friend Steve O’Hear points out on his ZDNet blog, this change could actually make it easier for you to choose what people see when they search for you in Google. That should be a good thing rather than a bad thing. Scott Karp over at Publishing 2.0 isn’t so sure. And he might be right that it has little utility for personal or business users. But it’s still just a picture and a name.

I know that privacy is a huge hot-button issue, but really. Let’s try and get worried about something serious maybe — like Google indexing all of your voice conversations on the new Google Phone.