Facebook Introduces Graph Search – Should Google be Scared?
So I came across an article that sparked my attention. It was titled “Facebook Just Declared War on Google, Meet Your New Search Engine”. Enticing right? So I decided to read it, and wow, what a deceptive title. So I’d like to clear up the confusion that this article instilled in me.
Facebook is not the new Google. Yes, Facebook has improved its’ search engine function to better search FACEBOOK called the Graph Search. This search bar is still in the beta testing phase. To put it simply, Facebook has made it easier to search among your friends and pull items related to your search term that your friends have deemed “worthy”. This form of search is further personalizing your search results via Facebook search bar.
Google personalizes search by pulling your location and customizing your results based on that location. Say you want to search for restaurants; Google gives you restaurants located in your area. If I’m in PA, and Google pulls up a restaurant in Florida, it does nothing for me. What Facebook is doing is taking it a step further and pulling in relevant interests from your social world, i.e. Facebook friends, likes, comments, etc. This type of search is returning results to you based on what matters to your friends and the groups you belong to.
The Snafu’s of Graph Search
There are some drawbacks to this type of search. For starters, say your want to try a new Italian restaurant and you type in the Facebook graph search “Italian Restaurant”. It will pull any restaurants that your friends have checked in at or mentioned on Facebook. My initial snag on this concept is the fact that this type of search will not necessarily pull the best Italian restaurants in the area, or the one with the highest reviews. It will only provide you with the restaurants your friends have mentioned or checked in at. A bit biased, don’t you think?
My second hesitation is that my friends aren’t necessarily the best judges of the best Italian restaurants in the area. To me, this provides a very skewed host of information for search terms. Facebook is a place to connect with people you know. Just because you know someone doesn’t mean you agree with or care about his or her tastes.
Lastly, one of the most controversial aspects of this new type of search is privacy, or more accurately, the lack there of. Since Facebook will be searching in Facebook, your friends can potentially pull anything from your profile.
To Sum It Up
We all know that Google is attempting to make search more personalized, however they still want to deliver the best results for their users. Relying solely on social metrics to pull search results is silly. In my mind, Google has nothing to worry about. Best of luck to Facebook’s new search tool, but my heart lies with Google.
What do you think about the new Facebook Graph Search? Let us know your thoughts!