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Facebook Announces Graph Search

Facebook Announces Graph Search

Today Facebook announced a new project called Graph Search. Do I think it will work? Yes and I'll explain why a little later.

Graph What?
What's Graph Search? Simply, it's Facebook's version of a search engine. The difference between Google/Bing/Yahoo! and Facebook are how the results are served.

Facebook's search engine will give each individual different results. Each user receives unique search results based on the amount of friends they have and the privacy settings of each friend.

With the amount of data Facebook has gathered (likes, shares, comments etc.) users' searches could yield some very relevant results, especially when it comes to reviews and recommendations.

Graph Search Success
To explain why I think Graph Search will be a success I need to talk about Bing first.

Bing has had social search results since last year and shares more social information than just Facebook. When you query something like "bands" you can expect results from Facebook, Quora and more. The downfall of this feature is:

  1. Nobody really uses Bing. (Google dominates market share)
  2. Nobody really uses Bing.

This leads me to why I feel like Graph Search will succeed. When we look at social networks Facebook dominates the market share. With an average of 584 million daily active users you're going to be able to quickly learn what's wrong with the product and start improving immediately.

In addition to a large user base, there's always an abundance of people asking for recommendations from friends. Using the Graph Search cuts out having to make a post and waiting for friends to respond. You get instant gratification for your burning question.

Having search results like this gives Facebook another revenue stream. In the future I won't be surprised if we hear about paid search advertisements.

What's this mean for the big search engines?
Nothing yet. Google & Bing already serve high quality paid and organic search results and Facebook is going to need time to tweak its algorithm to serve relevant, high quality, results to its users.

One thing Google might want to be worried about is its reviews. Are people going to trust Facebook's results based upon their friends or the list of reviews on Google? The answer is most likely their Facebook friends.

Future Problems
One issue is users crying about privacy violations. Almost every Facebook update comes with users voicing their opinions about Facebook violating their rights, sometimes they're right and sometimes not. The best solution is to allow users to easily opt-out but, knowing how Facebook works, this isn't likely.

Another problem could be results being gamed by spammers. Granted, each individual is supposed to have unique results but that never stopped people from hacking the system to get their products in front of people.

Zuckerberg & others at Facebook Explain Graph Search

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