Keith, I would like a feature to clear my facebook search history/profile view history. I consider it a privacy issue.
The knowledge that anyone who stumbles across my logged-in profile can see who I'm interested in by experimenting in my friend search bar has a chilling effect on the profiles I view. Google and most browsers have a 'clear search history' feature- it would be nice if facebook had the same.
That's not a privacy issue, its a security issue. If you can't be bothered to log out your account on shared computers, people are going to get access to your account, and a malicious person will be able to do anything they please. Search type-aheads are the smallest of your problems.
Being able to uncover what profiles have been viewed is a significant problem for a lot of people. And they aren't worried about malicious users - they are worried about their partners/parents/children seeing which profiles they've viewed. Who looks at what profile is one of the most sensitive pieces of information facebook has, and I'm a little surprised that they do this.
Just to be clear - I don't think people are especially worried about strangers seeing which profiles they've viewed (it would be quite unlikely it would be meaningful) - they are worried about the people they trust seeing which profiles they've viewed.
Facebook doesn't show which profiles you've viewed explicitly for a good reason - I think they were just hoping that this would be obfuscated enough not to get much notice.
It's not always as simple as that. There are times where it's better to keep certain information from certain people no matter how much you trust them or like them. It's just better that way.
Some of us have had significant others with jealousy issues. It's not that we don't trust them, it's just better if they don't worry about silly issues like whose Facebook profiles we've been perusing. Not because it's a secret or because there is anything to hide, just because it helps the SO control their counter-productive impulses if they aren't informed on the matter.
That same kind of avoidance can be applicable in all other sorts of relationships. It's not that the people aren't trusted, it's just that there's no reason to know, and it will only cause damage if they find out -- not because it's bad or trust-breaking, but because the person's reaction may be problematic for completely different reasons (compulsions, or potential taint of future circumstance).
"here - look at this interesting article on Wikipedia"
... she starts reading ...
... I get bored and go to make cup of tea, forgetting that I hadn't logged out of Facebook ...
... she finishes article, closes tab and finds herself on my Facebook page ...
It is my fault, but a "clear history" (or at least make my history invisible) function would mean that mistakes like the above will have much less impact
I disagree, it most certainly is a privacy issue. You may share a computer with friends, room mates, and significant others. If someone had access to your facebook account they could read all your messages, but this is something we are all aware of. Up until now I was _not_ aware of the fact that someone gaining access to my account could actually discover which profiles I frequent, which is like having a browsing history I did not know about, which I cannot even clear/remove after I learn about it. This is what makes it problematic.
There's more to it than just logging out. What if you don't want a subpoena to reflect your most visited profiles? There should be a way to purge any data kept longer than the routine access log cycle, including information on frequently viewed profiles.
If you read his discussion of how it works, though, that's very much not what this is. What you're asking for doesn't even make sense, to be honest.
It's not about who you search or view. It's all just a big guess at who you might be interested in. From what I've gathered, it tries to find probable relationships based on all of these factors:
Comments, Likes, Tags, Events, Applications, Friends, and Work and Education data
Note that those are both your own comments, etc, and those of the people it's trying to relate you to. Who knows exactly how it combines all those to come up with its guesses, but I'm quite positive it has fairly little to do with who you're actually viewing (though I'll admit, maybe that's a small factor in there, too).