By Cara Friedman Let us all drop our jaws in fake shock! Facebook is developing their search capabilities!
Earlier today, Facebook made a big announcement about what they feel will be a third pillar of the Facebook ecosystem. The first two we are very familiar with; the ever popular and ever changing newsfeed and both personal and page timelines. Now, Facebook is introducing graph search as the next big thing.
What is it? Graph search is essentially a more advanced internal search. While it is not meant to search keywords or external websites, it is making huge strides when searching for things within the Facebook platform.
What does it do? When searching for things within the Facebook platform, you now have the ability to search for people, places, photos and interests. You can only search within your own social graph - posts that are otherwise set to private will not become searchable.
How do you use it? Type the way you speak. Instead of searching for dancing, type friends who like dancing. It is really great if you are looking for specific friends, new restaurants or businesses, etc. Results are ranked by people you care about the most and photos you like the most, so your results will always be most relevant to you.
What are the capabilities? Currently, it is only in beta and only offered in English. There is no API for developers right now but they are planning it for the future. Graph search is not available on mobile phones yet. In the presentation, there were no examples of commercial uses which could mean that is only applicable to profiles and not pages. To sign up for beta click here.
What does this mean for my small business? You may have noticed that Facebook has been asking users to rate local businesses and restaurants. This is going to be a critical aspect of your search. Make sure you are asking for ratings on Facebook and creating likeable experiences in store. Become familiar with sponsored search on Facebook because that feature will likely be built out into a bigger ad offering.
What does this mean for my big brand? Ratings of local business and restaurants will expand to all brands. It will be even more important to be likeable and ask fans for ratings to ensure that your brand is ranked high organically on search. People can also search others based on their likes. This is an easy new way to find your brand and can creatively be put into content to encourage people to search for you. It is clear that this is Facebook's attempt to create a "Google Killer." While it seems that it is limited on the surface, Facebook's intent is clear to develop their search to eventually become the default, given the personal relation to its users.
What do you think of Graph Search? Share in the comments below!