The recent introduction of Facebook’s graph search hasn’t garnered over the top attention amongst the man in the street, many Facebook users are still quite unaware of its launch or even what it is, but it might turn out to be a quiet launch of something that proves to be a big thing.
With the internet slowly growing up, many of the initial aspects of it are slowly starting to find their footing, searching the internet and finding information being one of those.
With the unconquerable power of Google in search, this simple step might be a road which can start influencing their dominance. Facebook, the website that was simply a personal space to broadcast your personal events, might have grown to possess a power that could unsettle traditional search and be hard to compete with, even if Google’s social platform, Google Plus, has shown positive growth.
In effect, what is happening here is that essentially humans in the form of friends are filtering the search results through their interaction with the platform. Where search engines rely on computational algorithms to try and bring up the most relevant results to your search, techniques such as graph search use the interactions and actions (likes, etc.) of other humans and especially those you are closest to and have similar interests to, to deliver results. It is in its early stages (even though social search has been around for ages) but the size and pervasiveness of Facebook, is making it a much more viable reality than ever before.
Combine this with mobile and mapping and you have a powerful ‘artificial intelligence’ that can answer you within the context of: where you are (mapping), who you are with (mobile location) and what your personality (social profile) is, as well as what you like, are interested in and which social groups you relate too. It’s almost like asking family and friends for advice instead of a total stranger.
Add to this the overwhelming growth of mobile and sliding sales of desktops and laptops (dropping to their lowest level in three years for the first quarter of 2013) as well as the difficulty in displaying advertising on smaller screens, and Facebook has once again found it has the ideal platform for this in users news feeds, with over 700 million people using the platform daily. Mobile ads accounted for roughly 41% of its total ad revenue in the second quarter of the year – up from 30% in the first qarter. Ad Prices which declined at Google and Yahoo, increased 13% at Facebook and the total number of ads displayed on its service expanded by 43% year-on-year.
However, the flip side of the coin is that in an environment such as the internet where switching to something else comes at the paltry effort of a few clicks, you never know where a company may find itself tomorrow, much like Facebook did to Myspace. Being a social platform means you’re at the mercy of the fickleness of your users.