After weeks of speculation about what Facebook would launch, it upped its stakes last night in the battle for online domination by unveiling its new search system. Whilst the media reaction has been somewhat lukewarm, we believe that this move positions Facebook as a much more significant threat to Google than it has been to date. What Facebook has done here is effectively amalgamated Amazon, Trip Advisor, and tribal search engine capabilities into its ecosystem. Graph Search promises to not only generate more relevant results but also to map and create new relationships on Facebook as it will allow users to scan publicly available photos and posts as well as their friends’ music and restaurant likes in a move some analysts claim sets it up for a fierce battle against Google.
Major Search Engine Providers Will Scratch their Heads
What‘s the main benefit? The searched information will be more relevant than a general web search because it’s based on information posted by friends and contacts. Plus, the new search will run alongside its integrated Microsoft Bing engine which will scour the web at the same time. It’s a logical step in Facebook evolution – alongside of being a social network, it is also a gargantuan data resource and its global domination will be enough to make the major search engine providers scratch their heads. We also believe the new search engine capabilities will improve FB’s ability to target advertising whilst also driving more traffic to Bing ads.
Search For Friends Who Like Heineken Beer?
The new tool is supposed to appear as a bigger search bar at the top of each page and users should be able to create their own custom view of the content they have shared with their friends on Facebook (supposedly respecting privacy settings). The magic lies in the fact that Graph Search allows you to combine phrases like “Sushi restaurants in Palo Alto my friends have liked”, “My friends in New York who like Jay-Z“, “People who like tennis and live nearby“ or ”Photos of my friends in New York“. As a result, you should get a relevant set of people, places, photos or other content that's been shared on Facebook. The question is whether users will also be able to search for “friends that like to drink Heineken beer”, “colleagues that fly with US Airways”, “electronic brands my friends have liked” and so on.
New Connections Between Users and Brands on Facebook
The focus is turning to Likes and sentiment which should make Google quite nervous as it’s failing to integrate Google+ and its +1's with its own world-leading search engine. However, businesses on Facebook should be very excited as Graph Search could help people connect with brands, products and services that perfectly meet their needs. What do you think about this new tool? Will it help users connect with the right brands on Facebook? Let us know in the comments below!
Find out more about Graph Search here!
Note: At this moment, the tool is in beta and only available in US English for a small group of people.
An example of how the results look like for Mark Zuckerberg when he is searching for people who Like the same things (pages) as he does.