The service we speak of is Facebook Graph Search. In a nutshell, it’s a search engine that lets you search through your Facebook friends’ private information in addition to all of the world's public information. In other words, it gets you results that are practically inaccessible to all other search engines, even the mighty Google.
Okay, time to be more specific. Here are some examples of questions you can answer by using Facebook Graph Search:
- Which of my friends live nearby and play a musical instrument? (You want to form a band.)
- Which of my friends have a background in tax law? (You want free legal advice – no, we don’t recommend that you get your legal advice this way, but you know you will still do it if given half the chance.)
- Photos of my friends last Christmas (You’re compiling a collage?)
It even has excellent social and mobile commerce possibilities:
- Which of my friends have been to Asia? (You’re taking a trip and want hotel recommendations from people you trust.)
- Which of my friends have online stores? (If given a choice, you would prefer to buy stuff from people you know.)
If this works – and we think it will – Google will have something to worry about. After all, when Google tried to venture into the social networking platform through Google+, it bombed big time.
Heck, with its social and mobile commerce potential, Facebook Graph Search may even take some of Amazon.com’s sales away. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if one day, Facebook releases online store features such as shopping carts and “Buy This” buttons as well. Why not? Multiply did it.
There’s only one question in our mind right now: Although every IT guy worth their salt knows that a social graph is “all the people you are connected with on a social network,” it is never used in that context by the majority of Facebook users. So why use it to name an essentially non-IT product?
Facebook Graph Search: we give Facebook’s IT guys a thumbs up on this one – but what were their marketing guys thinking? Well, they were probably thinking, “Who cares about the name? This is gonna make Google quake.” And it will.