Is Facebook's New Graph Search Engine a Danger to Google?
Facebook announced the launch of a new smart discovery engine that, for now, will focus on four areas: people, photos, places and interests.
It uses the power of your own network to give you highly personalized results for your search queries. Results will be ranked according to your friends and friends friends interactions.
Does this mean the end to Google, LinkedIn, Yelp, Foursquare and the rest?
I asked Robert Scoble if I could share his thoughts here, and he agreed. The following is from the discussion on Quora:
Q: Is Facebook's new Graph Search Engine a danger to Google, LinkedIn, Yelp & Foursquare?
Robert Scoble (studies tech for Rackspace): It is a threat, but only in the long-term if the others don't react quickly. I've used the new search engine quite a bit. Yes, it is disruptive to many of those competitors.
Just so you know where I'm coming from, I study how others use Facebook and have built several lists, including these:
- 495 tech journalists and bloggers:
- 574 startup investors:
- 2,426 startups:
- 904 entrepreneurs:
- 947 tech executives:
But to more directly answer the question.
Let's say you want to find a Mexican Restaurant near you. Where do you go?
Google? Sure. You coud search for "Mexican Restaurants in half moon bay ca" like this:
Heck, on the Google Result is a restaurant that's been closed for months (brianna's). Google isn't good at cleaning out old stuff (Fourquare, Foodspotting, Yelp, are much better at this).
Now, go do the same search on Facebook with the new Graph Search. You'll see just how many people have checked in at each place (good indication of popularity and frequency), how many people like it (good indication of brand resonance and impulse to come back), and how many of your friends like it. Along with other details. Far more useful.
Notice Brianna's is on Facebook too. I reported that, lets see if it gets removed quickly. directory shows up, for instance). But which one is REALLY good. Which ones do the locals like? Which ones have your friends liked?
Let's try this on Yelp.
Which will happen first? Yelp gets real names and real people, er, friends of yours, or Facebook gets the detail and search quality that Yelp has? I bet on Facebook getting there first.
Here's the tips for Tres Amigos, my favorite Mexican place in town:
Now, let's look at LinkedIn.
Some limitations with Graph Search today:
- No mobile client yet.
- No content searching yet. (No searches like "who on Facebook liked xxxxxxxxx Quora post").
- Very few Facebook members have it yet (and it'll be rolled out "slowly" according to Facebook execs, which means it might be months before all Facebook members have access to it).
- You can't yet use lists in your searches and lots of other searches you will try might not work because Facebook hasn't hooked up the datatypes yet. As Facebook says so far this is really designed for a small number of use cases: searches for location, people, interests, etc. If you want to search for other stuff it'll use Bing for the results.
Will it dent any of the other's profits or such short term? No. This is a long-term threat. But that doesn't mean it's any less disruptive or dangerous.