On January 15, 2013, Facebook held a press conference announcing the reveal of its own “Graph Search.” Zuckerberg described Facebook as “a living database” and is capitalizing on the information provided by its users to compete with Google’s Plus and Apple’s Siri.
While Graph Search is too new to fully understand the scope of what this engine is capable of and where it will fit in, it does demonstrates where the industry is headed. People are becoming the content. You can see it happening everywhere. Google now requires a user to fill out a profile before you can use any of its’ tools (i.e. YouTube, Gmail, maps). And Apple’s Siri is heading in the same direction.
The idea behind Graph Search is that each search will be unique to the user and will depend completely on the connections that they have. You can find out how many friends you have in Chicago, or how many of your friends are dog lovers. On the practical side of things, this can end up being an extremely useful advertising tool for local marketing experts and can even possibly end up competing with LinkedIn. In addition, the new search can also tell you what friends have friends who are single in a specific area- making it a potential match making tool.
However, as of right now there are still gapping holes in Facebook’s database. That’s because it’s completely up to the users to provide the information. You might have 75 friends living in San Francisco, but because only 10 of them provided their current location, that’s all you see. This also starts to touch upon the ultra-sensitive issue of user privacy. Each user must be willing to share this information.
To make Graph Search more enticing, Facebook announced that a user can pay $1 to send a message to someone outside of their network. This can end up being extremely helpful if Graph Search starts being utilized as a recruiting, sales or matchmaking tool.
As of right now, the success of Graph Search is still up in the air. The tool has a lot of potential, but will it be able to compete?