So finally Facebook is gearing up to challenge Google. But this is not in the conventional way of search. Rather, Facebook is providing a new type of search that you simply can’t do on Google or anywhere else.
So, the product is called Facebook Graph Search. What is it you ask?
Here is a basic description of Graph Search from Facebook’s press release:
Graph Search and web search are very different. Web search is designed to take a set of keywords (for example: ‘hip hop’) and provide the best possible results that match those keywords. With Graph Search you combine phrases (for example: ‘my friends in New York who like Jay-Z’) to get that set of people, places, photos or other content that’s been shared on Facebook. We believe they have very different uses.
When I first heard the name of this product, I had something else in my mind. I think for the ordinary person, this word does hardly anything to represent what it actually is. Let’s try to make it simpler to understand.
Google Search Links Vs Facebook Search Likes
When we search for something on Google, it is basically web pages which are ranked according to the links that page has across the web.
With Facebook Graph Search, the objects we search for aren’t web pages but instead virtual representations of real world objects: people, places and things. The connections are primarily Facebook Likes. Did such-and-such a person like a particular photo? A particular hotel? A particular tourist destination?
Added Dimensions to Searching
If you are new in Mumbai and looking for a nice place to eat, a Google Search will give you search results for restaurants in Mumbai.
Now Facebook Graph Search comes in to the picture and can tell you what restaurants your friends like in Mumbai. In fact, it can tell you which of your Mumbai friends like which restaurants. You can actually try and get similar info using Google+ but you won’t get a range of possibilities like in Facebook Graph Search like:
- Photos by friends who live in Mumbai
- Engineering grads who have turned founders
- Movies that your friends like
- Online stores that your friends shop from, etc.
Why Facebook Graph Search Could Be A Big Deal!
Rasmussen and Stocky expressed Facebook Graph Search as a new, third way that people will view Facebook. They already have their own timeline, to see what’s related to them. They have a newsfeed view, to discover what’s happening with others. Now they have a “search view” to see whatever they like.
Facebook stresses that only information that a person can regularly see on Facebook will be revealed in search. Given this, there shouldn’t be any privacy surprises. Nothing is being shared beyond the people you already share with.
Moreover, this is the first big launch Facebook has made since a long time. Also, given that they have been constantly bugged upon on the revenue model that they have been working on, I think this is a very serious product for them and can make a lot of difference.
For a user, well, you can get so much information and help from people you trust. Wouldn’t that be great rather than just a Google Search. I can’t believe I just wrote “just a Google Search”. Well, that is the power Facebook Graph Search brings with it. If executed well, it has the potential to make Google Search “just a search”.