Facebook is a company we love to hate. We hate their arrogance and the constant annoying changes which mean that the functionality we enjoyed last week is no longer
available. The Help menu sucks and we’re frustrated. Such is our love/hate relationship with Facebook.
I’ve been reading about the newest innovation: Graph Search—an internal search system that will enable us to search people, photos, places and interests that have been shared on Facebook. It essentially allows you to search for things based on the interests and recommendations of your friends, as well as their friends. It will show up as a big blue search bar, and we’ll be able to query the data of more than a billion Facebook users. A big problem is that the recommendations are based on Likes—and here’s the rub–as we all know, a Like is hardly a glowing recommendation.
Graph Search is still in beta, but I signed up to be an early adopter. Zuckerberg is making a big deal of this because now that he’s the founder of a publicly traded company, he’s got to start delivering.
But I’ve been reading analysts’ reviews, and there seems to be a consensus that, while this is definitely a challenge, it’s still just a search engine, something that FB should have rolled out a long time ago—not something for which Zuckerberg should be expecting a lot of media attention at this late date.
There are other analysts, however, who believe that this new functionality will put a serious dent in Google’s ad revenue pocket. Think about it. It’s all about personalization. If Facebook is able to customize its search, drilling down to details of people, places, photos and interests of its rapidly growing group of more than a billion users, the potential for targeted advertising is obvious. Google has owned the search and, therefore, ad space; if Graph Search is successful, it could just redefine online advertising as we know it. Are we in for ad wars? If so, I can’t wait!
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