Facebook announced Tuesday it will be slowly rolling out Graph Search, a handy search mechanism to help you find more relevant information from your social graph on Facebook. So instead of going to Google and searching for a Chinese restaurant in Louisville, you could go to Facebook and search for a Chinese restaurant in Louisville my friends recommend.
Google presents you with prioritized results based on its determination of relevance. These factors include website traffic, inbound links, recentness of page and so on. While Google’s social search features sometimes appear and give you additional information like whether or not someone in your social network has given a particular result a +1 on Google+, for many social search features have not proved useful or even present.
Facebook is now going to give you a way to see prioritized recommendations based on what your actual friends have said, done or recommended on Facebook. The data set is more limited, more meaningful and more relevant.
All those years Mark Zuckerberg stared blankly at reporter’s questions about competition and said, “We’re working with Microsoft on Search,” truly was his way of saying, “We’re going to reinvent search and it’s going to be better and you’re going to love it and bite me.”
And he was right.
Granted, I’ve not seen Graph Search in full action yet, but if the execution follows the promise, search is now not something Google can safely say it owns. And Facebook’s search will be mighty compelling for many because of its relevancy.
For marketers, though, this evolution of the Facebook ecosystem of utility means one thing: You should have been investing in social media marketing all along. Without a strong social presence, particularly on Facebook, your business is not going to have the requisite recommendations, referrals and content necessary to trip this new search mechanism. If you don’t have much presence or traction there now, you’d better get some and fast.
This also means Facebook just became more of a necessity for consumers than before. Lots of people have been wanting to know what the next Facebook will be? Here it is: Facebook with Graph Search.
I’m bullish on this new feature because Facebook is turning search into an extremely relevant and valuable experience for its customers. As a result, Google needs to worry. And worry a lot.