Facebook recently sent out invitations for a press conference that cryptically read, “Come and see what we’re building.” Since then, the tech world has been abuzz with speculations of what the new announcement would be. The guessing games have been fun, ranging from a Facebook-specific smartphone (despite the clear denial from Mark Zuckerberg) to a new gaming platform, but the wait is now over.
This afternoon, Facebook announced their big secret: Graph Search. This new search tool is designed to utilize social information to find answers. I am personally delighted with this new option. Recently I had a long layover in Denver and wanted to find out if any of my Facebook friends were located there but could not. In addition to practical searches, the new search site will have the option for us to search things like “photos of Baylee and me from 1996” or “wall posts from my ex-boyfriend.” This sounds like SO much fun and not at all another way to waste my (personal, ahem) time.
As a content marketer, something that caught my eye in the announcement was the highly overlooked point that any searches that Facebook cannot complete will be sent to Bing. What was that? Yes, I said Bing, who thinks they’ve got what it takes to compete with Google. Maybe this integration with Facebook, the Internet’s largest social media site, proves that they do.
Of course, this begs the question as to how this search tool will affect SEO and search in general. Will this prompt people to use Facebook to search for answers rather than Googling them? Instead of going to Google and typing in “Italian restaurants in Greenville,” now I can just search on Facebook for Italian restaurants in Greenville that my friends have recommended or “liked” on Facebook. Sound familiar? Yep, this is exactly what Google had in mind with Google+. Will Facebook be more successful with its social search integration? Is this the end of Google’s reign on the Internet?
In addition to the search engine issue, this puts a whole new spin on the importance of developing a content strategy for Facebook. Your business page on Facebook just gained a whole new level of significance.
If you’re interested in testing out Facebook’s new Graph Search, they do have a beta version available to a limited number of users. You can sign up to be on a waiting list in the meantime.
Autumn Nicholson – EVG Project Manager