Facebook CEO, +Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a new social search tool called Graph Search that should hopefully lock us in FB Wonderland for all eternity. Gone are the days when we called our friends to ask their suggestions on what movie to watch or where to go out for dinner; now we just google it. Yup, 'google' is considered a verb and it sounds better than the task it does - online search.
|Image credit: Facebook|
Is it another search engine? The answer is No. It is not meant to compete/replace Google, at least not for now. While Google is meant for looking up anything under the sun on the world wide web, Graph Search is exclusive to just Facebook. So does this make the Graph Search lame? Again, the answer is No. With over 1 billion users and 240 billion user uploaded photos and millions of status updates, likes, pokes and what-nots, Facebook is data miner's paradise.
What is wrong with Google Search
It depends on what you are searching. If you doing some research for your project or checking the weather or trying to dig up a news article you read long long ago, chances are Google will get it right most of the time. The trouble begins with personalized searches. Right now, there are many apps for recommending books(Amazon), restaurants(Zomato), movies(IMDB), local businesses(Yelp) and so on and so forth. Though all these apps provide us a heads up, there is always a nagging question in the back of our head - are these reviews credible? Will we travel all the way to a restaurant which we have not even heard of until now just because food_lover1234 recommends it? The answer is, probably not. I am more inclined to consider a review from my circle of friends than some random usernames. This is the problem Facebook is attempting to solve with the Graph Search.
What you can actually do with Graph Search
Find out what restaurants your friends visited or if any of your friends have already seen the latest movie you are planning to watch. You can also step a bit outside your network and cast a wider net - what songs do doctors like, where do software engineers in your area hang out or find out friends (or friends of friends) who can refer you for a job opening at a particular company. Sweet! The possibilities are endless. As this feature is not yet rolled out to all users, it is too early to comment if Graph Search will be used to search for anything useful or just to improve one's stalking skills.
What about my data
Before the privacy pundits cry foul that this new feature is yet another attempt by Facebook to steal user data, Zuckerberg has clearly emphasized that a person will be able to view only the data that you have shared with him/her. Facebook seems to have learnt a bit or two about ticking off users with privacy gaffes so it has made an explanatory video to demonstrate how Graph Search works with privacy settings. That ought to put the conspiracy theories to rest for a while.
The future of search is personalized search results. Google has been on this track for some time now. Search, plus Your World tailors search results based on +1s or comments from connections on Google+. But the biggest problem is, there aren't that many people on Google+ and so there isn't enough data to make suggestions. On the other hand, Facebook knows everything about our lives and now it has the means to make sense of it. If you are unable to find an answer for something on Facebook (God forbid), you can use Bing to search online for the same query. Microsoft, which has been cosying up to Facebook for quite some time, is probably sneering now for it has got to the one place that Google couldn't, right into Facebook's pants :)
Disclaimer: All ideas, thoughts or reviews published in this blog are my personal opinion and not that of my employer (Samsung).