September 30, 2014

5 Ways Facebook’s Graph Search Threatens Google

facebook graph search

When Facebook announced the implementation of Facebook Graph Search to their site, the first thing that analysts started to write about was whether or not it posed any sort of threat to Google.

Naturally, Google downplayed the impact Facebook Graph Search would have, but the more that analysts looked at the situation, the more they began to see ways that Facebook Graph could pose a significant threat to Google.

Facebook Graph Search

Facebook Graph Search is designed to allow users to search from within Facebook’s database to find various people, places and things that a user has in common with both “friends” and “friends of friends.”

1. The Importance of Friends

When an individual wants information about a product, reviews are often used to help make a determination. But, more important that reviews are the opinions of friends.

For example, if someone is looking to buy a particular blender, he or she might look up online reviews about the blender to decide on the best blender to get. However, if a friend happens to mention that particular blender turned out to be virtually worthless, the person looking for a blender might choose to go with a different brand.

It’s for this reason, things like buying likes and fans will be virtually worthless. Facebook Graph Search will link purchasing power with the social power of a user’s friends.

2. Friends of Friends Will Really Matter

Where Facebook Graph Search will really stand out is allowing a user to expand beyond his or her own circle of friends. In other words, if someone only has 10 friends, the search results won’t be very useful. But, if those 10 friends happen to have 1000 friends among them, this can have an impact on search results.

Facebook Graph Search wants to help people pass from just searching for information to linking information with expanding circles of influence.

3. Facebook Graph Search is Integrated with Microsoft Bing

Facebook Graph Search fired a shot across Google’s bow when it integrated itself with Microsoft Bing. Eventually, Facebook wants its users to be able to remain on Facebook for long periods of time and conduct all their web search functions from within the program. This gives Microsoft Bing a lot of power among advertisers.

When an advertiser knows that Facebook Graph Search users will be getting their data from Microsoft Bing, they’ll focus their efforts on getting higher search rankings from Bing, rather than Google.

4. Facebook Graph Search is Already Where Google Wants to Be

Google has never made any secret about its desire to be the “one stop shopping” Internet location for users. However, attempts to gain a foothold in social networking has always failed. On the other hand, Facebook is already the social networking site used by literally billions of people around the world.

By linking social networking behavior with search results, it gives Facebook a stronger position than Google. With Facebook Graph Search added to the mix, it’s only going to make it harder on Google to achieve its goals than ever before.

5. Facebook Graph Search is Designed to Grow

The threat to Google from Facebook Graph Search comes with user growth. Users will discover the best way to improve their results from Facebook Graph is to expand the number of friends they have. Therefore, this tool actually gets users to keep adding other users to their base.

Working this way puts the pressure of expansion on users, rather than on Facebook Graph Search itself.

Image: Facebook

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Drew Hendricks


Drew Hendricks Drew Hendricks is a tech, social media and environmental addict. He writes for many major publications such as National Geographic, Technorati and The Huffington Post.

5 Reactions

  1. I’m interested to see how the integration with Bing will benefit Microsoft. Facebook has its own ad platform and I don’t see how Bing gets their foot in the financial door.

  2. Interesting, Drew.

    It may threaten Google in some ways, but aside from local businesses such as restaurants and consumer-related businesses, I’m having a hard time seeing the usefulness of Facebook Graph Search.

    Do people really search on Facebook for a typical transaction-related search?

    A different take here:
    http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/07/facebook-graph-search-local-businesses.html

    – Anita

  3. If it’s integrated with Bing and part of the search data is also coming from there – then how both Facebook and Microsoft are going to be benefited? Are they going to share Ad revenues or there is something extra inside that has brought them to work together?

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