What’s the Deal with Facebook’s Graph Search?

January 17, 2013 at 3:21 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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ImageSo Facebook has a search function? Hasn’t it always had that?

Yes, but it only gave you search results for profiles and pages – this is a different thing all together. Facebook will now provide search results on all the data contained in your profile, and the profiles of 1 billion other people. If you’ve “Liked” something, it will show up here. Users will be able to search on things like people near them, who like sushi and Star Wars who are single – Facebook might just become a massive dating site, so watch out eHarmony! (seriously – watch out)

Will there be unique opportunities for marketers? Sure, but we really need to get our hands on it to see what we can do with it and learn more about how it works. This is all pretty early in the game.

Here’s what I see as some of the key points…

Graph Search will allow Facebook to monetize results with ads, like Google does. The other key element is that this kind of search is something Google cannot do – Google can’t compile contextual searches like this (Well, it has tried with +1′s but that’s another story). Graph search doesn’t “hurt” Google, but it certainly stands to make Facebook more relevant. These ads may be of real interest to marketers.

There is a danger here – it’s not so much a privacy issue but one of user concern. Users will come up in searches for things that they may have “Liked” (or been a “fan of”) several years ago – perhaps things that they don’t like anymore. Facebook seems bent on the concept of Timeline to map your life from birth till your last status update. Makes sense now. There are of course, user controls to limit or protect your privacy, but it’s never easy with Facebook.

It’s also possible that many users will abandon Facebook – users who originally signed up so they could connect and share with friends and family, who now find themselves caught up in something much deeper than that.

Will this produce new revenue growth to bolster Facebook’s stock price? It’s too early to tell… but it’s clearly designed to do this.

This isn’t a time to be prophetic about whether Graph Search is a “game changer” – but I am looking forward to using it.

One last thing – I’ve seen many posts about this, and I 100% agree that “Graph Search” is probably the worst name for this tool. It just doesn’t sound dynamic or fun - Just about anything could have been better!

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