Facebook recently announced that its Graph Search can now search through posts and status updates. The search is limited to posts that have been shared with you – if you set your privacy settings to only allow your friends to see your posts then others will still be unable to find your posts in the search results. Posts shared publicly by people who are not your friends on Facebook, however, could show up in the search results.
This is the latest in a series of steps Facebook has been taking to increase the search functionality of their platform. They appear to have entered the race to achieve search engine status, encouraging users to interact with Facebook as a social media platform AND as a search engine. In contrast, Google has been attempting to expand their functionality through Google+ by positioning themselves as a search engine AND a social media platform. Facebook does have one advantage – massive amounts of data about individual users based on their Facebook profiles.
David Carrillo, Earned Media Manager at The Search Agency, weighs in on what this development could mean for Facebook’s overall strategy.
“In the short-term, the updates to Graph Search are potentially interesting from a marketing perspective as a tool for ideation and curation. Similar to the processes I outlined recently about content generation, Graph Search makes it possible to dig through Facebook’s large repository of information in a more structured, digestible manner. This could be especially fruitful early on before people start locking down their privacy settings even further.
The more impactful ramification of this announcement is how it plays into Facebook’s larger ambitions. As a pure social network there is a cap—albeit an enormous one—on how much Facebook can grow. But by becoming that plus an asymmetrical network (their Follow feature), real-time conversation platform (Follow + Hashtag feature), and discovery platform (Graph Search), they can potentially increase user activity and their bottom line exponentially; not “just” a double-digit percentage year over year.
To do so, though, they need to shift user behavior from Facebook being a destination on the internet to Facebook being a layer of the internet.”
Facebook’s recent updates to Graph Search reveal their robust ambitions for the future, and it will be interesting to observe the direction they take as Graph Search continues to evolve. Let us know your thoughts about the expansion of Facebook’s Graph Search and connect with David on Twitter @davidcarrillo.