Facebook notified media around the world they had a big announcement to make yesterday. Like many others, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to hear what new feature was going to be introduced to boost Facebook's stock price and confidence on Wall Street. Speculation was rampant with thoughts of mobile advertising networks, smartphones, operating systems and other brilliant ideas.
Finally, the clock struck 10:00 and Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO unveiled Graph Search, a new search engine, currently in beta (sign up for the waitlist here) Facebook says "takes us back to our roots and allows people to use the graph to make new connections." Was this announcement one of progress, or just another assault on Google, Yahoo, Bing and Facebook's other rivals?
There is no question Facebook's current search function is lacking. You type in your friend William's name and get a list of names of individuals beginning with the letter "W" and a few businesses, and usually a few names that are just randomly chosen by the search engine and have nothing to do with the search term you entered. According to Gizmodo, Zuckerberg hasn't just given us:
A way to find your friends (or college frenemies). And it's beyond just some attempt at a Google replacement. It's an attempt to do what Google failed at doing - pulling all the information that matters to you within the context of your social life, skipping the results that are popular to The Internet, in favor of the results that are popular within a group you actually give a damn about.
Graph Search will focus on people, photos, places and interests. Graph Search will appear as a bigger search bar at the top of each page. It appears to work like this: Let's say you're looking for a great sandwich for lunch. Instead of performing a Google search or visiting Yelp, you decide to use Graph Search. This method will pull recommendations for you based on what your Facebook friends like the most. It will use their check-ins, tags and Likes to find you a list of recommendations.
You will also be able to use Graph Search to find specific photos of your friends and even search for specific people you would like to connect with or just chat with. This kind of functionality will help people on both a personal and professional level and could eventually pit Facebook against a network like LinkedIn.
Certainly this is a step forward for Facebook's search capabilities. Their search engine has lacked even basic user friendliness since its inception. Whether this is an earth-shattering announcement or not is still to be seen. Of course, the product has to come out of beta and get used by the masses before it can be fairly judged. Let's wait and see. Let's also wait and see which Facebook rivals are affected the most by this rollout.
What do you think about Graph Search? Do you think it's an advancement for businesses using Facebook for marketing?