Facebook continues to surprise me. With over 1.28 billion active users each month and 802 million active users each day, the potential Facebook has to become larger and more powerful than Google is very real.
What gives Facebook this power is information. They have all our information and use it to deliver targeted advertisements, they provide useful tools to interact with online friends, and now Graph Search to search for very specific information related to your friends network.
The Facebook Graph Search enigine is of particular interest as it has to do with search technology and social media. Even though they currently use Bing’s search engine for Internet searches, Facebook is taking it’s time developing the features of Graph Search engine so it can return relevant results based on your friends’ input.
Facebook’s Graph Search is now focusing on mobile since 1.01 billion monthly users of Facebook connect via mobile devices. At this time, they only offer this feature for their desktop website and not their mobile application. Here is how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckergerg described Graph Search at a press event in Menlo Park, California on January 15, 2013:
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.
This search engine can and will be used more for local searches such as finding a dentist, plumber, or restaurant in your area. Based off your friends’ interactions with various businesses, they will have an influence on the search results you see.
If you do a local restaurant search in Facebook for “restaurants in New Orleans” on your desktop, you will see results similar to these. Your own Facebook information and that of your friends’ “Likes” have influences on what the search engine specifically displays.
If you do the same search on your mobile device, you will see different results since Facebook doesn’t currently use the Graph Search technology. This is what Facebook is currently working on for mobile. There is an interesting interview in the New York Times from April 16, 2014 where Mark Zuckerberg answers many questions in regards to search, Facebook’s direction, and Internet.org.
I feel this is going to be yet another avenue of online visibility and lead generation for your business. It will be as important as ever to gather “Likes” and have an optimized Facebook business page. We are seeing an upward trend in social media platforms as traffic sources to websites. This will only increase as more mobile users gain access to the Facebook Graph Search for mobile so they can get the thumbs-up from their friends if they want to try a new local restaurant.