Is Facebook the New Face of Search?

facebook-graph-search-300Have you heard?  Facebook has now launched a new search engine.  It’s called “Graph Search”.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re not alone.  You have to request access to it and, even then, you may have to wait in line.  If you want to access Graph Search, I’ll include a link at the bottom of the post.

What is Facebook Graph Search and How Does It work?

Graph Search is more than what you are used to on Facebook.  Previously, the Facebook search feature only let you search for people or organizations with pages/groups.  With Graph Search, Facebook is hoping to change the way you search for things.  Instead of going to a search engine, like Google, which chooses what to show you based on things like the words used in content of the site, the links going to site, and the quality of the content on the site, Graph Search looks at things like “Likes”, shares, and check-ins.

Is this the end of Google?

Google-rejectedSo, with Graph Search making it’s debut, how will this change things?  Will everyone all the sudden stop using Google and switch to Graph Search?  Not likely, at least not right away.  Facebook has a lot of things to work out with Graph Search, including how to interpret all those millions of likes which have a nebulous meaning.  After all, did I like something because I liked it, because they offered me something, or because I wanted to do something with it and Facebook only gave me one option, to like it.  And, hey, what if my friends are all idiots? Okay, maybe they aren’t idiots (well, most of them), but do they really know more than some expert with whom I am not friends?  These are all challenges Facebook faces, but it’s not all challenges for Graph Search.

Graph Search gets the incalculable benefit of starting on Facebook, which has over 1 billion users.  With a base like that, I almost thing Facebook would have to actively try to fail with Graph Search for it not be successful.  Also, the truth is that we do tend to trust our friend’s opinions on things, and when you search in Graph Search you can see which friends liked what?  And, if you’re not sure why your friend liked something, you can always ask them.

Backed By Bing
facebook-likes-bing-300At this point Graph search isn’t able to handle all searches.  It’s pretty good at helping you find people with certain interests of histories and it’s good at letting you know what things and places people have liked, but it’s not extremely robust.  Good thing Facebook teamed up with Bing a while back.  Bing has been integrating Facebook features and signals into their search results for over a year now and now we’re seeing this appears to be a true partnership and Graph Search uses Bing data to fill out it’s search capabilities, whether it’s adding to the results or just plain giving you a Bing search results page.

What Lies Ahead?
Are people ready to give up Google?  I doubt it.  After all, Google is literally synonymous with search.  If you don’t know what synonymous means, Google it ;).  That said, I could certainly see Facebook taking some of the search market away from Google.  For somethings it will just make sense to use a social search engine (find a new restaurant, choose a movie to see, find people who like macrame, etc.)

Still not sure about Graph Search?  Here’s a little intro video:

Here’s a link to try Facebook Graph Search.

Give it a try and then let us know what you think.

  • What do you think of Facebook Graph Search?
  • Would you switch to using Graph Search?
  • What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of Graph Search?

Rejected stamp image from webdesign-guru.co.uk.

Kurt Steinbrueck is the Director of Marketing Services with OurChurch.Com. He also serves on the leadership of Family of Christ Lutheran Church in Tampa, FL. You can find him on Google+ as .

6 Responses to “Is Facebook the New Face of Search?”

  1. PaulSteinbrueck Mar 5, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Kurt, like you said Facebook's search is going to get a big jumpstart because Facebook can promote it and position it in front of its 1 billion users, but ultimately it's success is going to come down to the quality of its results and whether people prefer "friendly advice" over "expert advice."

    • Thanks Paul. I agree with the idea that even with the jump start of a billion users, Graph Search will only succeed if it has quality results. I don't necessarily think, however, that it's a question of whether people prefer friendly advice or expert advice. It all depends how Facebook develops their search engine. There's no reason they can't inject some expert options into their results. For example, if you searched for a local restaurant, Facebook could set it up to show you listings based on

      1.) You friend's likes
      2.) Everyone's likes (not just your friends)
      3.) The likes of local food critics

      If they identify results well, you could choose whether you want to go to a restaurant your friends like or a food critic rated well or perhaps find one that both your friends liked and food critics rate well.

      Graph Search is still in its infancy, but I would love to have search results that were able to incorporate all three of the above criteria.

  2. It definitely has to find a user niche and not just be a bully. Any search engine is helpful to gather more data. I think the data we can pull from it to make our user experience better will be another key to the success.

  3. The new Facebook search engine is totally different compared with Google's powerful search engine. Until now, there is no competitor who can beat Google in terms of accuracy, efficiency and speed.