Facebook unveils Graph Search: What impact will it have?

By Chris Lee

Facebook has unveiled its Graph Search functionality, which the company says will help its billion-strong user base source more relevant information from their own social “graph” – their existing relationships on the social network.

Graph Search differs from Web search as every piece of content on Facebook has its own audience and most of that content is not public, according to Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Web search provides links, whereas Graph Search brings personal, valued friends’ opinions to search queries for people, places, photos and interests. There will be Bing-powered Web search in addition for content outside Facebook.

This is the full Facebook Graph Search launch video.

How will Facebook Graph Search impact marketing?

For Marcus Tober, founder and chief technology officer of search software Searchmetrics, Facebook’s Graph Search represents a logical step towards the social network becoming an individual’s – and a corporation’s – go-to social network hub and search engine.

“While Graph Search currently only offers people the facility to search content shared by their own social circle, it delivers the highly personalised response that many users are looking for,” he told NMK. “Social is already a key factor in search and Graph Search provides Facebook with a new weapon in its fight to increase revenues and potentially even target Google’s search dominance.”

Tober said it is early days but in the future by combining Graph Search with its partnership and integration with Microsoft’s Bing search engine, Facebook could give users both Web and social results from a single search – without ever needing to leave Facebook.

“This could potentially have a huge impact on Google’s core business and Facebook’s profits,” he warned.

Graph Search set to disrupt status quo

According to Kelvin Newman, creative director at search specialists Site Visibility, Graph Search could really disrupt Google’s dominance of search going forward.

“Looking to buy from a service industry business like a plumber, solicitor, photographer etc.? You can find those recommended by your friends, but that’s only scratching the surface, this has the potential to disrupt the way people choose businesses or find information in areas as diverse as dating, hotels, restaurants, shops, recruitment, travel destinations, and tickets and music,” Newman wrote on the Econsultancy blog. “The bad news for Google is at the moment the only vertical I can’t see being potentially affected by Graph Search is financial services.”

Graph Search is currently in beta, is only available in English and will not be immediately available for mobile, but Facebook recommends that brands make sure that their Pages are complete and up to date, including:

    • The name, category, vanity URL, and information you share in the “About” section all help people find your business and should be shared on Facebook.

    • If you have a location or a local place Page, update your address to make sure you can appear as a result when someone is searching for a specific location.

    • Focus on attracting the right fans to your Page and on giving your fans a reason to interact with your content on an on-going basis.

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