Today, Facebook announced the beta version of its new product called Graph Search, which, for regular users, transitions their experience into one where they can perform searches based on their friends, but for marketers, will potentially create a whole new revenue stream which directly results in a party-girl arm raise and squeal of excitement. With the product, Facebook is effectively attempting to do what Google+ does in a limited scope, and Google’s search product is a platinum grade provider of: search.
Since its inception, Facebook has been a non-stalkery, but definitely done in the middle of the night from your dorm, way to drop friends a note and see what everyone with whom you’re connected is up to. The service they provide today is much different than the Facebook of yesteryear because they’ve added a bevy of products since that time to create a more efficient user experience. With relative success, they constantly update its systems to become a more relevant player in people’s everyday lives. This includes the implementation of the Wall, News Feed, Timeline, Brand Pages, Poke, Gifts, Games & Apps, Messages, Chat, advertising (with all of its incredible amounts of products), mobile interfaces… It feels like the list goes on and on.
The big news with Graph Search, though, is that it’s the company’s attempt to take on a world in which they’ve only been limited-to-moderate players. Search is a whole new playing field for Zuck, and if the gold-level user experience witnessed in his company’s previous products are any indication, Graph Search will works its way into being the threshold for everything pertaining to internet searching. Those familiar with Google, (so, umm, everyone), know that Larry & Sergey’s product is the kingpin of the search world and that they’ve seemingly worked restlessly to make Google+ a more social-infused version of its premiere search product.
If you check out Graph Search’s product page (seen here), you’ll see that Zuck and his crew are attempting to make Facebook the place where you search for everything you may ever want in your life. Perhaps you’re interested in seeing if any of your friends like a certain doctor, do a Graph Search. Need a recommendation on a new vacation spot? Do a graph search. These actions, then, turn Google into the secondary and perhaps tertiary path of search. You can get all of the basic information on services from their pages, but it’s not like you can book flights, reserve tables, buy a lamp, and so forth from a company’s page (yet). What’s crucial here is the level of the implicit preference provided when you’re searching for what your friends like. Through Facebook, searches metamorphose from a simple, “Who of my friends live in this city?” into inherent recommendations.
The opportunity this could provide marketers is currently speculative if anything, but I think it’s safe to say that Graph Search could become a next-life for SEO, as well as the home of Facebook’s current paid-search advertisement offerings.