January 24, 2013

Facebook Graph Search! Are we there yet?

The original Article was written by me on SocioFi Blog


A lot of rounds happening last week when Facebook announced its graph search. Many of you might have tried this feature, or signed up for it and some of you might have already got the feature. As Facebook slowly rolls out this feature and much anticipated news that has already flown out there about how this feature is going to revolutionize the search business especially using the open graph and social graph aspect of Social networking in order to ensure that Facebook stays true to its mission of making the world more open and connected. So how much of that is really true or how much of that will really be successful?

First things first. A lot of people are making statements and stating that Facebook search / open graph search is going to be quite a competition to Google! Well, come to think of it, it’s not. While the realm of this search is completely different and if you look at the aspect of this search it boils down to the existing 1 billion ‘users’ that are on Facebook. It isn’t as open as you may think it to be, furthermore it goes only through the social graph. In few examples Bing searches / results might come into play but don’t know how much though.

Facebook’s goal also and the model is for its people to stay on site, while Google primarily offers people to leave the site with result waiting elsewhere. And a lot of Facebook Graph Search ‘fans’ if we may call them are overhyping its capabilities. Many tech websites and media have understood or rather I’d say misunderstood FGS to be something like a real ‘search-engine’, where Facebook’s open graph allows improving their searching capabilities, and then finally finding some information on Facebook itself. If that was the case, why not just improve their partnership with Bing? Or integrate that in Facebook itself? Certainly FGS is a way where they have an ability to tap into their resources on their existing ‘data points’ i.e. ‘users’ and help advertisers search / use advertising better for their brands. One step ahead of the game! Maybe, Maybe not… All depends on how users perceive this and how they modify their existing profiles accordingly.

Now that we’ve got that aside, a quick look at what Facebook graph search is all about

Facebook says this about how they ensure that they make the world more open and connected:

“The main way we do this is by giving people the tools to map out their relationships with the people and things they care about. We call this map the graph. It’s big and constantly expanding with new people, content and connections. There are already more than a billion people, more than 240 billion photos and more than a trillion connections.”

So what do we really have to perceive of this?

This is what Facebook says,

“Graph Search will appear as a bigger search bar at the top of each page. When you search for something, that search not only determines the set of results you get, but also serves as a title for the page. You can edit the title – and in doing so create your own custom view of the content you and your friends have shared on Facebook.”

Well, we all know that Facebook is in the business of gathering data about their users to be able to target ads better and sells ad-slots at higher prices unlike Google where it infamously thrives on data about the web itself and analyzing that data in order to make people come back to their website because these people find what they want to find. In general, you see, Facebook and Google have different business models even though they seem to be the same at the first look. That’s why Facebook will never try to build a comparable search-engine like the one Google operates.

All in all, Facebook Graph Search, is what it is.. And let’s accept it for the product it is rather than comparing it with Google! Another aspect of it is that, their competition models also in this case are different, so are their visions and goals. What do you think?

Srinivas has been a communications professional for over 10 years, and has been blogging since 2005. He has worked with the likes of Social Wavelength, now Mirum India, (A JWT Group Company) for four years and now Heads Learning and Development & Analytics at Social Kinnect: A Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai. His passion for Advertising, Creativity, Social & Digital Marketing helps make a difference for the brands they work with. 

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