Will Facebook Graph Search Replace Google?

This Forbes article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonykosner/2013/01/20/facebook-graph-search-is-a-disruptive-minefield-of-unintended-consequences/ discusses some of the consequences of the new Facebook Graph Search feature.  The new feature allows Facebook users to search for something such as “Mexican restaurant in Palo Alto” and get results based on what their friends “like”, theoretically creating a more useful and personalized search tool.  The search feature picks up on the “Likes” of pages, check-ins to places, shared photos, and individual Facebook profiles, which are now fully searchable.

The article points out that there might not be enough complete data to make using Facebook as a search engine worthwhile.  For example, your Facebook friends might not list every restaurant they like for every type of cuisine, in the city you are looking in.  Another concern is that the search feature will create one more scenario in which people will feel overexposed and completely remove themselves from the service.  Facebook gives users the option to control the setting on each individual piece of content that they “like” or share, knowing that most people probably won’t bother.

The article further notes that many people use the “like” button ironically; for example, people “liking” Chuck Norris, but not actually being homophobic, but of course computer code can not differentiate between the ironic likes and the genuine likes.

Another Forbes article http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonykosner/2013/01/21/facebook-graph-search-runs-on-likes-that-advertisers-have-already-paid-for/ talks about the fact that the Facebook Graph Search feature was created because advertisers were becoming disenchanted with the ROI on campaigns to build their “likes”, so this Graph Search is a way to justify past expenditures and get companies to continue spending money going forward.

My questions for the class are:

  1. In the future, could you see yourself turning to Facebook instead of Google or Bing to search for something?
  2. Do you think Facebook will be successful at delivering the ROI that advertisers want without alienating its users?

– Sara Fay

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2 thoughts on “Will Facebook Graph Search Replace Google?

  1. I doubt that Facebook Graph would ever replace Google as a search engine, but I definitely think that there’s a value to this tool. It sounds essentially like a Yelp or TripAdvisor, but made up of all your friends! I think that’s really cool! So many of us value what our friends think, and are likely to take their recommendations on restaurants, stores, services etc. (and maybe there are some friends you know not to take a recommendation from) – so even though I don’t think it would ever have the same usage at Google, it seems like an awesome and helpful product. I could definitely see myself using this tool, but I don’t see it replacing Google in terms of general searches.

  2. I think that Facebook will figure out a way to make the tool work for both advertisers and users but I don’t think it will replace a search engine like Google. I agree with mvieira2’s assertion that this is very similar to a yelp or tripadvisor type of service and I can see it fitting in with that model of usage (ie. I am looking for a good Mexican restaurant, lets see what’s out there on Yelp and FB Graph).

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