Yesterday Facebook announced it’s new smart search engine – Graph Search. Many speculated that Facebook were set to announce a new search engine to rival Google, but instead they unveiled a more Facebook specific, natural content search.
Facebook sell this new feature as a way to ‘find more of what you’re looking for through your friends and connections’. You can ‘find people with shared interests’, ‘explore your world through photos’, and ‘discover restaurants, music’ and more.
Say, for example, you know a gig is coming up and you wanted to find friends who were in to the same band to come to the show. By searching for ‘Friends who like Pearl Jam’ or ‘Friends in London who like Pearl Jam’ you can retrieve a list of friends fitting the criteria. All possible thanks to the information and data we share with Facebook and its Open Graph, which includes things such as photos, status updates, location data as well as the things they have “Liked”.
“We’re not indexing the web,” explained Zuckerberg. “We’re indexing our map of the graph – the graph is really big and its constantly changing.” This puts to bed rumours that Facebook was going to go head to head with Google. Search, as we know it, is left to Bing which is the default search engine when the graph can’t return an answer.
This addition to the Facebook platform is an interesting, and possibly needed, one. It also throws up some interesting avenues for businesses. Companies and recruiters, for example, can search for potential applicants who fit their criteria. It also opens another avenue for targeted Facebook advertising when companies can target specific search terms, much like Google Adwords.
Graph Search is still very new and as Zuckerberg himself admits, “There’s a very long list of things that we didn’t do for version one. We have years and years of work ahead of us.”
Graph Search is currently listed as still in Beta on Facebook and you can sign up to be added to the waiting list.
It’ll be interesting to see how this new addition to the Facebook platform benefits users and I am keen to see how businesses start to adopt its uses.
You can read more about Graph Search on Facebook.