Facebook has recently started testing Graph Search on mobile devices. The social media site first introduced Graph Search in March 2013 as a semantic search engine designed to answer natural language queries, helping users find and connect people, places, pages, posts, and more. Up until now, however, this increased functionality had been limited to the desktop experience.
“Graph Search coming to mobile devices is significant when put into the context of Facebook’s larger goals. Their Q4 2013 earnings stated that 53% of their ad revenue comes from mobile, which unofficially makes them a mobile-first company,” says David Carrillo, Senior Manager of Earned Media. “This is further emphasized by the fact that they are increasingly—and purposefully—breaking up Facebook into a series of separate app experiences tailored to different audiences and goals. Instagram and Facebook Messenger are separate mobile apps, as is their recently announced Paper app.”
With this rollout, two questions come to mind: 1) are people using it and 2) how does this play into Facebook’s larger strategy?
“I think the biggest challenge for Facebook will be teaching people how to use Graph Search and effectively communicating its value. Facebook has a ton of information about us and all of our connections, but prior to Graph Search there was no elegant way to query that data,” Carrillo went on to say. “Its inception and subsequent upgrades provide a tremendous amount of social utility, but it will all be wasted if people don’t know how to use it. It wouldn’t be surprising if they roll out a separate mobile app that is tailored to simply exploring your Facebook history and connections, with a user interface that walks people through the experience.”
While many of Facebook’s users may still be uninformed about Graph Search’s capabilities, integrating it into the mobile experience may broaden its popularity, simultaneously allowing Facebook to leverage their data to provide a more rewarding user experience.