Just when you think Facebook can’t possibly make any more changes, they surprise you! Facebook has officially announced the launch of a new search engine called “Graph Search” this morning.
Wired.com helps explain that the objective of this search engine is to allow Facebook users to handle precise queries that general web search would not be capable of. This type of search would include items like, “Who are my friends that live in Georgia?” or “Italian restaurants in Buford, GA my friends have been to”. There will be a control panel to the right of the screen to help narrow down results from there. Lars Rasmussen (co-created Google Maps & Google Wave) and Tom Stocky (Facebook’s director of product management) have demonstrated that there is possibility of matchmaking by searching items like “friends of friends who are single males in Atlanta, Georgia from California”. Results could even narrow down to who might be a product manager or a specific position of a company in order for businesses to proceed with better recruiting.
Zuckerberg has this search in beta form and has opened this tool to a small number of users. So far the feedback of this search tool on Facebook has been positive. Do not worry about learning a new tool, Zuckerberg has also stated that “Graph Search” will offer a rich auto-complete system as well as a “power bar” to help refine search and guide you to what you are looking for exactly. Facebook also states that “Graph Search” will be “privacy aware” and that users do not need to be concerned with information share without your control.
How does this affect you as a business? This new “Graph Search” is directed towards a user experience, but expected to help with business recommendations, product reviews as well as local business search. This gives you more of reason to have product reviews on your website and that you do have a social media presence.
I wonder how well this will really work. I’ve heard rumors of search going in this direction for years. Ask.com sort of got this right, but I haven’t seen this done well yet. Apple sold Siri as the voice version of this and I’ve found Siri to be lacking so much that only my kids use it for silly questions. I would like to see someone take some search share away from Google, though, so I’m hopeful.