Facebook has further nudged into Google’s search territory by introducing the new ‘graph search’ feature, which allows users to search directly from the Facebook interface. However, it’s not as exciting as it seems to be.
On trial, it simply looks like a way to seek out ever more tenuous relationships between people who are in your extended social circle but not actually on your Facebook friends list. Right now it’s optional, and you can also try it out on Facebook’s dedicated About Graph Search page. Interestingly, Graph Search is in no way powered by Bing, the Microsoft search engine which has a large investment in Facebook. Graph Search in fact, does not approach the capabilities of a search engine, as some might have expected.
So how does The Facebook Graph threaten Google’s advertising revenue?
Well, that’s difficult to say right now. There is currently no advertising on graph search nor the ability to sponsor the results like Google Adwords. In the meantime, brands will only gain visibility if their fans are coming up in user’s graph search results. Commentators have suggested that Facebook will move into revenue streams such as ‘Sponsored Search’, where an advert will appear right above the search results. They have also said that Facebook is likely to initially watch, learn and discover before realising this service as a paid platform for advertisers.
Facebook are under more pressure to deliver advertising revenue since their IPO listing. The social network giant hasn’t fared as well on the stock market as it would have hoped. To avoid further depletion of trust in their stock, Facebook must continue to prove that it can open up new advertising revenue sources.
Another key issue that’s under discussion is that of user privacy. Facebook is still involved in a lawsuit over using user information in its sponsored stories page. The information currently crawled is ‘people, places, photos and interests’, and Facebook will be keen to avoid another public brawl with its users.
Most Facebook new features are treated with suspicion when they arrive in beta mode, so we have no idea if graph search will turn out to be useful feature or not. Tell us if you’re excited about trying it, and whether you use Facebook to find new people to socialise or work with and monetize your blog. For now, Google won’t be sweating it.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Gemma Collins is a freelance copy writer from Hoxton. She is a social media fanatic and blog addict. Her favourite thing in the world is mango sorbet.