Facebook beta tests its new search function – Facebook Graph Search
What is it?
Facebook is currently beta testing its new “Facebook Graph Search”. This new search engine will be unique to each user, prioritising results that Facebook believes best relate to you. The results will include data from your Facebook friends, friends of friends and Facebook pages. Any results that cannot be found on Facebook will appear from the web through the Bing search engine. It also includes previously searchable items such as friend’s profiles and their music interests etc.
Click here to join the waiting list for Facebook Graph search and read on find out how it works.
How it works
When the search bar is clicked, a series of drop down menus appear, these include suggestions such as nearby restaurants, Places friends have been, as well as photos of friends, groups and friends of friends. If one of these is clicked, say “Restaurants” for example, a list of the Pages of restaurants in your locale will then appear. This list can then be refined with criteria such as those liked by certain friends or friends in a List or those visited by them. User uloaded photos, map location, similar pages and the profiles of those who have liked or checked in can all be navigated to from here without needing to go to those restaurant’s Pages..
Searches can also be done in the conventional way by inputting text into the search bar. As text is typed in, suggestions for content on Facebook will appear. Your in-Facebook search results are limited to the context of your ‘friends’ and ‘friends of friends If the results cannot be found on Facebook then results from the web will be displayed.
How can it benefit businesses?
The more fans your Page has, the higher the visibility of your business is. Businesses with a higher amount of likes will show up more prominently in search results than those with less likes. As many advertisers paid for likes by buying ads to encourage fans to follow their Facebook Pages, this new function will be more rewarding for them.
The more Facebook “Check-Ins” and “Shares” a page has will also increase visibility in search results. Facebook Ratings and reviews will be visible in search results and can also have a positive effect.
How will it compare to Google?
It may be too early to say whether Facebook Graph Search will be a true competitor for Google. Its focus on Semantic search (attempting to understand searcher intent and the contextual meaning of searched terms), as opposed to Keyword search may give it an advantage, however Google has recently announced it is now developing own Semantic Search project.
Posted by Eoin T Loughney