Will FriendFeed's New Search Equal More Real-Time Spam? - InformationWeek

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Commentary
7/5/2009
12:23 PM
Allen Stern
Allen Stern
Commentary
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Will FriendFeed's New Search Equal More Real-Time Spam?

Social message board service FriendFeed announced the launch of their new search engine this week. Will this new search engine see a huge increase in spam?

Social message board service FriendFeed announced the launch of their new search engine this week. Will this new search engine see a huge increase in spam?If you are new to FriendFeed, you can think of it as a message board or forum that sucks in content from social sites and feeds from across the web. Links are displayed and you and other FriendFeed users can discuss the content. FriendFeed is typically described as a "real-time" tool because the page updates on its own with no action required (i.e. refresh) from the user.

The new FriendFeed search engine indexes all of the titles and comments that are added to the service. This includes services like Twitter, Flickr, Photobucket, YouTube, your RSS feed, etc. But only items that have been added to FriendFeed. This means if your blog's RSS feed hasn't been added to FriendFeed, it won't be indexed in the search engine. An interesting component of the search engine is the ability to embed a search result outside of the FriendFeed service.

Louis Gray has a good overview of the new search engine. Louis has an example of the embedded search inside of his blog post. This means anytime the words "Louis Gray" come up in a post on FriendFeed, it will automatically be displayed inside the embedded search inside of the post.

What this means is that if someone was to post, "Louis Gray spam word and spam link" it would show up inside of his search which would be visible by everyone visiting his blog. If a popular blogger embeds the search on their blog, I can only imagine that spammers will attempt to get their links displayed in the search results. And the search spam isn't limited only to embedded searches - it will also be displayed in searches on the FriendFeed site.

FriendFeed offers some filters that should help reduce the spam. The filters include the ability to limit search by number of friends, only people who are your friends, must have a certain number of comments, etc. I'd like to see more education about how to use the filters, both for optimizing a search and for reducing the possibility for spam in the results.

If FriendFeed continues to grow as a service, you can bet spammers will find their way into the service. The FriendFeed staff will need to make sure they keep spam to a minimum and are always educating users how to minimize the spam in their FriendFeed feeds and externally embedded searches.

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