Mark Zuckeberg has presented Graph Search: a smart way to discover places, find people and explore the world around you, right on Facebook. For companies, Graph Search means better visibility and a boost to sponsored results.
What is Graph Search?
Graph Search (I know, the name is awful) is the new way to search on Facebook. A lot of these questions could have been asked to dedicated apps and websites: Facebook doesn’t want you to leave their website, everything can be done through their products. Moreover, the results are mostly of users, pictures and places connected to your network of friends.
You can ask all kind of questions, such as “Restaurants my friends like in Stockholm” or “TV shows my friends like” (easy one: Breaking Bad).
"If you meet someone at a party you can search for something like "People named 'Chris' who are friends with X" @emily
— Dingle (@dingletweet) January 15, 2013
How will brands benefit from Graph Search?
Brands have usually public data, posts and pictures: they will often come up as results in Graph Search . If you’re looking for “social media company in Helsinki “, you should be able to find Dingle Oy without the need for us to advertise it. In fact, we advise brands to check that their Facebook pages are up-to-date. You need to make the ABOUT section as Graph Search optimized as possible, with keywords and useful links (SEO for Facebook).
Can I pay to get on top of Graph Search?
Sponsored results will play a big role with Graph Search. Facebook says that “Pages and apps can still use sponsored results, which appear to people whether or not they have Graph Search” but we are sure a new format will come out soon, something that recalls Google AdWords.
Do LIKES still count?
Oh yes, more than ever. The results of the Graph Search will be ranked by importance, and for importance Facebook means “friends closer to you” but also and most significantly: “comments, likes and shares” on that particular post.
This is what Google has been struggling to do with +1s and personal results on their search engine. We bet Microsoft is happier now; it will be a huge boost for Bing. Less happy are companies like Foursquare, Yelp and TripAdvisor: Facebook is aiming at their market share.
— Dingle (@dingletweet) January 15, 2013
Can Graph Search really answer anything?
We haven't gone hands-on but the areas on which Graph Search will concentrate are four:
• PEOPLE: “Finnish friends who have been in Italy”
• PLACES: “Cities my friends have visited in Spain”
• PHOTOS: “Photos of my colleagues last saturday night”
• INTERESTS: “Music my friends like”
Not only. The collaboration with Bing has brought other features to Graph Search such as Weather forecast, an all time favorite Google Search.
Is Facebook aiming at Google?
I think users will trust Graph Search more and more and ask Graph Search stuff they previously would have asked Google. Moreover, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Graph Search working perfectly with Apple products in both iOS and OSX. Apple’ll be delighted to help Facebook (and Microsoft) bring down Google, even just a little bit.
So what’s in it for the users?
92% trust word of mouth compared to only 47% who trust TV and other forms of advertisement (and really, stop trusting tv). With Graph Search you can ask Facebook about all kind of things your friends have liked.
“Hotels my friends have liked in Bangkok” and there you are, contact your friends and ask how that particular hotel was. Even more, search for “Pictures of XXX hotel in Bangkok” and you will probably get some honest, public pictures of users all around the world and not the photoshopped flyer image from the hotel.
Everyone on Facebook will see all my pictures?
If they are public, yes. That is why we advice you to go and check the privacy of your pictures before "it's too late". It might be a good time to untag yourself from those pictures you don’t want your next employer to see.
Does Graph Search function as Twitter Search?
Not at the moment. Statuses are not featured in Graph Search, but I think they will be at one point. For sure, Graph Search can be used to look for news and pictures/videos of something happening at that moment if they have been set up as public. It will be a huge help for journalists. I believe users will share more public content in the future, so they will come up in the Graph Search results of friends and other users as well.
Is that all? No Facebook mobile then?
No, no Facebook mobile. But they won’t need it. We believe this feature is a real game changer and will make users connect even more with each other.
The possibilities are really infinite: the limit is the curiosity of the users.
Can't wait to look for “People near me who like AC Milan” and get a new Sunday TV buddy. #GraphSearch
— Simone (@bocedi) January 16, 2013
Get in line for Graph Search and see the video of the presentation for more information: https://www.facebook.com/about/graphsearch
Images courtesy of Facebook