Many of us watched the Graph Search announcement from Facebook and, like me, were in awe of the indexing of billions of pieces of content that are now searchable. For me personally, this is a huge deal because I enjoy knowing what restaurants my friends have enjoyed lately, or what they have purchased recently. That makes a big difference to me.
I think Graph Search data will be more valuable to each of us than we realize, and I’ll get to exactly why below.
First, here’s what we should all know about Graph Search already.
Recently, I have noticed a bunch of people asking more questions to their Facebook friends, such as this one:
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This is a perfect example of why the Graph Search is so important. What’s better than asking those people that are your Facebook friends for their opinion on something? Instead of asking Google and random reviews coming up, now it’s socially relevant. Now you don’t even have to do the above example. After reading the reviews throughout the last few days, it’s clear this means something to some, but it appears others find flaws in this idea.
I’ve read from some people things like “well, I am not close to my Facebook friends,” or the classic “I don’t even like anything anymore or comment on things,” the idea being that this wouldn’t be relevant to them. Two things: 1) it’s your fault you haven’t curated your Facebook list to your liking and you can thank Facebook EdgeRank for actually knowing who you like and who likes you; and 2) even though you as a user might not contribute, your friends are still engaging at a rapid rate and thus the Graph Search can still be awesome for you.
The third thing I have heard from people is that it’s only relevant for what happens within Facebook’s ecosystem – which I would say is true now but not true in the future. Here’s where the possibilities open up.
Remember Open Graph? Consider this: you as a consumer go onto Gilt (a great Open Graph website) and buy a shirt that you’ve wanted for a while. Then, even though you might not share it publicly, Facebook knows that you bought that shirt, and you can enable indexing via the Graph Search engine, which would result in someone searching “what shirts have my friends bought lately?” and bam, they get that recommendation. Now it’s outside of the Facebook ecosystem and it’s socially relevant through the web because of Open Graph.
How cool would that be?
– Andrew Foxwell