Well the wait is over... Facebook pulled back the curtain unveiling their latest and greatest feature called Graph Search. So what exactly is Facebook Graph Search and how does it work?
Before I get too far, you should know that Facebook Graph Search is still in beta so it will not be available to the masses just yet. You can sign up for the Waiting List on the Facebook website.
What is Graph Search and How Does it Work?
Graph Search is Facebook's very own search engine (powered by Bing) that allows users to navigate the Internet though use of all the data that Facebook users have shared (text, photos, likes, check-ins...) while using the site. More simply put, it will consider the things that you like, talked about, posted or commented on to deliver you search results that are more tailored to you personally rather than the best optimized web page. So if you are searching for a great restaurant to go to, you could receive results based on what your Facebook friends like the most.
Just in case you were wondering (like I was), Graph Search is aware of privacy settings so all that content you've uploaded will only be used by those that you've granted access to view on Facebook per your privacy settings.
Should Google Be Scared?
Google is planted firmly as the #1 choice for search engine by the majority of searching consumers and are constantly challenged by the latest and greatest. I do not see Graph Search posing a threat in the short term but only time will tell on how this feature could change our methods for searching online.
Google's late entry into the social media game with Google+ does show that they do recognize the power and importance of social media in consumer's everyday lives. The big problem that Google faces is not everyone owns a Google+ account and many of those that do are not logging in nearly as often as they do with Facebook.
Problems Facebook Graph Search Faces
Many Facebook users are aware and use their privacy settings to keep their information from being public. Graph Search's limits to using the content that you share through your privacy settings will be very restricting to how much of that personal experience it can deliver in it's results. For example, let's say you want to conduct a search for financial advise on getting out of debt. Unless this is a topic that you and your friends frequently discuss on Facebook, there is little substance for Graph Search to provide that will deliver the promised personal results based upon your preferences.
Another problem that Facebook faces is getting users to use the Facebook platform for something other than a social platform. While I'm not saying that habits cannot be broken, the majority of Facebook users like to use Facebook as a social media platform and not as a search engine.
What Do You Think?
I'd be interested in hearing what your thoughts are on this new feature.