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Facebook testing mobile searches for old posts

Facebook is testing a way to let users of its mobile app search for posts shared with them in the past.

The tool is designed to let people find posts that otherwise might get lost in the mix. With the update, users can search for posts they've previously seen on Facebook from friends and the Pages to which they're connected.

People who have access to the update can search for, say, "kayak trip John Smith," and a previous post that the user saw in his or her feed about the trip might pop up.

"We're testing an improvement to search on mobile," a Facebook spokeswoman said. "In this test you can use keywords to search for posts you're in the audience for on Facebook."

Facebook didn't say how many of its billion-plus users have access to the feature.

Search is a mixed bag right now on Facebook's mobile app. You can search for content such as people, companies, places, and interests, but finding specific posts is a difficult, if not fruitless, pursuit.

The test represents a form of search that Facebook has been scaling out already on desktops. Early last year it launched a beta-test version of Graph Search, designed to let people search for many types of content based on their connections.

Facebook has been scaling Graph Search slowly on the desktop. Last September, it was expanded beyond profile content to include posts and status updates.

The usefulness of its search tools depends on Facebook's ability to index the vast amount of content people post. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called search a multi-year voyage for the company.

News of the test was first reported on Thursday by Bloomberg.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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