Graph Search: Is Facebook Becoming a Self-Contained Internet Universe?

Social Tonic
Stephen Duggan CEO, Social Media Engagement Co.

Posted on January 27th 2013

Graph Search: Is Facebook Becoming a Self-Contained Internet Universe?

Facebook took another step toward becoming its own web universe when it launched a search engine for shared content. This move challenges the future relevance of search engines like Google, as well as review sites such as Yelp and Foursquare.

The aim of “graph search” is to assist the Facebook community in finding information more easily about what other Facebook users have shared on the network. It uses the indexed information generated within the Facebook universe to generate search information. It will allow people to find others by their interests, location or career. So if you like water skiing you can find other people that live nearby that also like water skiing, which will in turn allow you to make new connections with other people who share similar interests with you. Alternatively you can search for people nearby who like Chinese food and see what restaurants they have “liked,” and read their comments.


This graph search engine is designed to give Facebook users the ability to sort information by topics and interests with the added advantage of keeping its users within the Facebook community instead of sending them to search engines or review sites for the information they seek. "Graph Search is designed to take a precise query and return to you the answer, not link to other places where you might get the answer," Mark Zuckerberg explained, highlighting some of the issues of a typical Web search.

Graph Search (beta) version rolls out Tuesday on a limited basis to users. This version will be able to handle queries based on people, photos, places and interests.

It is anticipated that results will be displayed based on importance, so a restaurant with more likes could possibly show up toward the top of the list that is generated by the search. Check-ins could also have an impact on where a place is positioned on the list, emphasizing the importance and need for businesses to be actively involved on Facebook and ensuring that their Page is relevant, engaging and up-to-date.

Facebook also partners with Microsoft's Bing social search engine to fill in some of the gaps where Graph Search cannot supply the information. Facebook does stress that Graph Search is not a web search, but this can be seen as the first step in that direction, because when the product is fully operational it will give many Facebook users an incentive to stay within the Facebook community instead of spending time on other social media and search sites.

Social Tonic

Stephen Duggan

CEO, Social Media Engagement Co.

Steve is  a  leading expert in social media, branding and IP management. He has been active in the online environment for 15years and has a strong following and is CEO for the Social Media Engagement Co.

He has in excess of 20 years senior marketing and communication experience, having worked for multinational companies. His marketing experience covers a broad range of industries from FMCG, Pharmaceuticals, Education, Banking, Health and Beauty as well as the Travel and Hospitality industry.


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Kent Ong
Posted on January 28th 2013 at 5:14AM

I like and hate Graph Search. I like it because I am an internet marketing specialist, now I can access any information. I don't like it because I am a Facebook user, my personal information exposes to the world now.

Social Tonic
Posted on January 28th 2013 at 7:08AM

Hi Kent,

Yes it is a double edged sword. I belive we will continue to see more of this type of services being provided, as Facebook looks to capitalise on what l believe is its greatest asset... data. 

They also will evolve to providing services and apps which keeps thier communitites within the facebook Universe.

It has a database second to none, and now that its a public company will need to add value to its shareholders.




Mary Grace Viado
Posted on January 28th 2013 at 10:44AM

Oh well, once this is in full swing, search engines will likely have decreased market share in terms of search. As for now, the idea is kind of scary for people who really wants privacy and sort of an awesome advancement in technology for people who wants to brag about there whatabouts.

With regard to Facebook giving almost everything an internet user needs; getting them glued on the site would somehow give adverse effect to websites wanting to rank on search results. If everything will be provided in Facebook, then, the name of the game would be trust/authority/credibility. 

Social Tonic
Posted on January 29th 2013 at 2:41AM

Hi Mary,

Thank you for your comments. Yes you are correct, the name of the game is definitely trust, authority credibility and ongoing engagement with your audience.


Posted on January 28th 2013 at 12:50PM

It is the most highlights of the new articles and valuable information. Thanks for the information.

Social Tonic
Posted on January 29th 2013 at 2:39AM

Hi Sandeep,

Thank  you for your feedback. It is greatly appreciated.


Bryce Coffin
Posted on January 30th 2013 at 3:41AM

Do you think they will make Graph Search opt-in or opt-out? Or will all Facebook users be forced to transition into using graph search while on facebook? This reminds me of when Facebook launched their Timeline UI back in 2011 to learn personal information about each Facebook user, in order more easily understand how to specifically market ads to them (sidebar ads, popups, etc).

Posted on February 7th 2013 at 9:10PM

The GraphSearch just makes this whole thing scary! 

Social Tonic
Posted on February 7th 2013 at 9:41PM

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out