Why I'm Unimpressed with the Facebook Graph Search Announcement


Facebook today announced a new product called Facebook Graph Search, now in beta.

Facebook Graph Search

Unlike Google and other web search engines, Facebook Graph Search will allow users to find Facebook-only content in four main areas (example queries from the Facebook press release below):

People: “friends who live in my city,” “people from my hometown who like hiking,” “friends of friends who have been to Yosemite National Park,” “software engineers who live in San Francisco and like skiing," "people who like things I like," "people who like tennis and live nearby"

Photos: “photos I like,” “photos of my family,” “photos of my friends before 1999,” "photos of my friends taken in New York," “photos of the Eiffel Tower”

Places: “restaurants in San Francisco,” “cities visited by my family,” "Indian restaurants liked by my friends from India," “tourist attractions in Italy visited by my friends,” “restaurants in New York liked by chefs," "countries my friends have visited"

Interests: “music my friends like,” “movies liked by people who like movies I like,” "languages my friends speak," “strategy games played by friends of my friends,” "movies liked by people who are film directors," "books read by CEOs"

This is not a new search engine, it's a more advanced way to browse existing content on Facebook. Facebook already had a search bar on the top but it was limited to names and page titles. With the new search bar users will apparently be able to type actual queries to find the information they are looking for. Google killer? Not likely, but it could keep users on Facebook longer and help them find private info.

Facebook Graph Search appears to be a great way to search through your stuff, but from an online advertiser's perspective, I'm unimpressed. It remains unclear how advertisers will be able to use this Graph Search product to better market and sell their products to Facebook users. Search can be great for ad targeting because it allows marketers to direct ads about their products and services to the right people at the right time. Unfortunately, the new Facebook Graph Search capabilities are limited to people, locations, photos, and other types of searches that are weak in revealing commercial intent. In typical Facebook fashion, the official Facebook Graph Search announcement does not outline any benefit for its advertisers.

What do you think of Graph Search?

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Saqib Waqar
Jan 15, 2013

Larry - what do you think of local businesses? Amazon is gunning for Google's core product search - this seems to be a running after Yelp more than anything

Larry Kim
Jan 15, 2013

i think at best this will help drive some traffic to facebook business pages. i don't know if it can compete with yelp in that it won't have as many specific reviews. I would still want to know how people out of my network rated different restaurants, etc.

Rank Watch
Jan 17, 2013

I don't promote your thought much as well as this post. You can't predict what will happen and how it will pan, untill we start using it that much. Com'on, this is only beta version. And what you supose to ask from Facebook? To make a clone of Google. That is too much copypaste. Anyways, Facebook is the fun-breeding place for about one-third of population and so it contains a lot much about its users. If one has to look for something informative, abstract they will go for Google, but as far as Looking for the happenings arounf Facebook crowd, this is going to be a great hands-on tool.

Dimitris Z
Jan 15, 2013

Graph Search is an indicator that Facebook will start increase share of  "search" voice..Someday in the future we will also see search based ads

Jeff Howard
Jan 16, 2013

I suppose it might be good for PR folks, and people doing grass roots awarness campaigns. Political reach out, or link building. 

Larry Kim
Jan 16, 2013

indeed. it's the ultimate people finder!

Jan 16, 2013

I think this is a big win for small business. This creates more value behind the 'Like' button. I saw a study that shows 75% of people trust what they friend like/recommend versus 14% trusting an advertisement. On a side note I think this may help Facebook checkin feature which has not lived up to expectations.

Victor Pan
Jan 17, 2013

Before anyone starts calling Facebook a LinkedIn killer, let's just keep in mind that LinkedIn already has a search which allows you to "Find people who work at Facebook that have worked at Google"All LinkedIn has to do is change how the filters work in their search tool to create a more intuitive search experience.However, there's a huge data potential here in creating some interesting facts that any business can take advantage of.:Prospecting with DataX% of people who like WordStream liked Search Engine Land. Y% of people who liked SEOMoz liked Search Engine Land. Currently, Z% of the people who liked SEOMoz like WordStream. Find the people who like SEOMoz and Search Engine Land, but not yet WordStream. This isn't just "like" prospecting. This could be lead prospecting - and your sales guys already has a common topic to kick off!Creating Content with DataWhile there will be bias as to what can be searched based off of people who opt out of Facebook's Graph Searchability, this won't stop me from digging into fun facts like X% who watch this TV show are Republican - or the top 10 hitlist that'll probably jive with your fans. The relationships between apparently disparate interests can be made into quirky trivial facts that can drive a lot of engagement.There's probably a lot more we could go into, but let's just say I see a lot of opportunity as a data geek. The marketing side of me is excited, and hopefully not disappointed.Can't wait for the beta!

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