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Facebook recently launched a new feature during its much hyped January 15 conference. Well, the hype was worth it because Graph, the new social search engine from the social networking colossus promises a new and totally different way of interacting with information and refining search results. Graph works differently than Google and any other search engine out there because it tackles the problem of search from a multiple parameter perspective and it does so while contained within a small sphere, you social network.
Though it touts itself as bringing answers, not links to answers, the new Facebook Graph is not without its ‘outside’ support. If something can’t be found within Facebook, Microsoft Bing will swoop in to the rescue at a moment’s glance and although the experience will be closer to a normal search engine at least your query will get some result. Graph, however is immune to Optimization without Facebook support (promoted posts, anyone?). Not even the best digital agency out there can modify the ranking in Graph’s results page as it is dependent on social connections to other people rather than keywords and ranking.
But the true question is how bad is Graph for Google. Search is Google’s game and although many challengers have arisen over time none have really held a candle to the search engine giant. Even after aggressive media campaigns, Microsoft Bing, Google’s main competitor has less than 10% of the market locked up. And yet things might change. Microsoft has long partnered with Facebook to provide maps for its check in feature but with integrated Facebook search the plucky contended can finally gain some ground on Google.
And there are other ways in which Graph challenges Google as this article points out. Graph makes it significantly easier to find content you might like based on people who have similar tastes to you: your friends. Graph just took a big bite out of Google despite being quite different, because its approach completely outshines Google Local in terms of specificity and customization and gives you significantly more relevant results thanks to the higher social proof factor (odds are that you have more friends on Facebook than G+).
So is Graph really bad for Google? On the surface it is not. After all as Zuckerberg himself said, Graph is not a search engine, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. On the other hand it does offer a lot of the same services as Google easier and in more detail. Whether the Facebook feature will end up stealing part of Google’s userbase or fail miserably it will be interesting to watch.
Paul Estcott, the author of this article is a mid-twenties entrepreneur and author from the Midwest. He thinks that not even the best digital agency can help you succeed if you don’t have a top product.