There was a lot of rumor in the past few days around the announcement by Facebook today, what would it be: mobile, a phone, is it going into search? Well the answer is clear now: the announcement is indeed about search, Facebook is launching Graph Search. But hold your horses: this is not directly competing against Google just yet, it is about what is already shared with you.
Mark Zuckerberg just announced the new Facebook feature. And also explains how it works: Facebook is about three pillars: the newsfeed, the timeline and finally the graph. Graph search is about searching through that. It can however have a big impact on how people use Facebook. Not searching the web, but searching your interests and see which friends have the same and what they looked at.
Pictures by Danny Sullivan on Marketingland
They first focus on people, photos, places and interests to be ‘indexed’. For example if you do a search on ‘Starwars’ (example given by Zuckerberg on his presentation), you will see people returning who liked the topic.
What is interesting is the local search element, this goes beyond recommendations. When searching you will see structured suggestions, categories, in which he could continue his search. You can really explore what your friends like and find relevant information on that. These results are all personalised, weighted by how much you ‘trust’ your friends.
How big is this?
The question now is, how big is this really? Well Facebook is not getting into direct competition with Google, but the Graph Search will most definitely push the search behaviour of people and might keep them on Facebook a lot longer. And you will be able to get information which is very relevant and personal because it is very much about your friends.
It does get close to what Google is doing when it comes to personalised search and information you get on certain topics which are closely related to you. It however is not exactly like Google, because Google really indexes the web and looks at more than just your surroundings.
If you want to be part of the search experience on Facebook here’s the page where you can sign up for trying the beta.
Here are the videos Facebook uses to promote the feature: