Will Facebook’s Graph Search hurt Google? Yes, Maybe and No

Facebook has recently announced a new trick. It goes by the name “Graph Search“. I have signed up like many people might have, but I have not seen it showing up on my account as yet. From what some are saying it will might take up to “weeks”. I was intrigued to by Search Graph and the screenshots shared in a post by Sauravjit, but I was taken aback by the deluge of posts on how Facebook’s Graph Search will challenge Google’s search dominance.

Facebook has apparently found a way to crash Google’s party.

facebook graph search screenshots
Facebook Graph Search: Serious Competition to Google?

So will Facebook disrupt Google’s search business in a big way?

Yes! Google will worry!

Okay, Google is a search giant and it has massive resources. Billions of search queries are handled by Google without breaking a sweat. Why would Google worry about Facebook’s improved search feature.

  • The money is in local advertising. Google shows up pretty good localized results. I usually search for restaurants, hotels and even for movies on Google. Google rules this niche and makes potentially billions from local businesses investing in AdWords.
  • Facebook has a lot of data that is personal. It knows the movies people watch, the theaters people go to and their experience visiting restaurants. Facebook’s Graph search would be very useful to find information that is personalized.
  • Google might worry about this. As a matter of fact they have been worrying about it for years now. That is why they ended up creating their own social network Google+. They want similar personalized data to work with and augment their search results.

Maybe its just Facebook fixing itself

Searching on Facebook is a terrible experience  It auto-prompts me people, pages and more but most of them are not what I am searching for. It is decent if you are searching for the profile of your friends but for searching for new stuff, it is pretty much useless.

  • So with Graph Search, Facebook might not be really be thinking of hurting Google but is actually fixing a really under-utilized feature.
  • Facebook it just rolling out something new for browser. There is still no clarity on how Graph Search will work on mobile phones.
  • Also more than hurting Google’s search engine, a great search feature will hurt LinkedIn. I can already see HR departments all over the world, looking up various permutations and combinations for finding good potential employees on Facebook instead of LinkedIn.

Let’s not get over excited! It is Facebook

Facebook has a great track record of coming out with something interesting and then making a mess of it. It messed up the Timeline redesign.

  • Simple things like a photo will not be displayed in completely in the profile layout. On the whole I still find the timeline design very clunky.
  • It also has some major problems managing my lists. I cannot move people in bulk from one list to another (like we can on Google+).
  • And hopefully we won’t see Graph Search being case of Facebook stumbling on the “Privacy” front.

Overall it is a good development as something critical like “Search” for Facebook will be fixed. But only time will tell if Facebook will be able to really deliver a great product let alone challenge the likes of Google at the search engine game. That game is something Google really knows how to play very well.

What are your expectations from Facebook’s graph search? Do drop in your comments.

4 replies on “Will Facebook’s Graph Search hurt Google? Yes, Maybe and No”

  1. My Answer would be No too, There is no comparison of Google and Facebook. I was also thinking when I was writing on the same but now feel that, this is the only new application of Facebook to search locally only. We know that, it will only show the records based on your friends, and friends of friends data.

    This is the scenario of today, but in future, Will Facebook launch their own search engine stronger than Google?

    This is the question?

    1. @Ravi: Facebook launching their own search engine is very unlikely. They first need to index all that is there on FB and then maybe they can think of the entire web.

      Remember FB search requires people to use Facebook first, share extraordinary amount of info on themselves to become relevant.

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