"You can check out anytime you'd like, but you can never leave....."
Or so Mark Zuckerberg would like you to think.
When Facebook made its announcement earlier this week about their Graph Search, it struck me that one of the intents of this project was to provide a place (Facebook) where users can do anything they need to without ever leaving the site. He's even referenced this in the past, and this latest change leads me to believe that he is paving the way to potentially make this goal a reality.
In short, this Graph Search will let users search for places, items, and other interests based on what their friends like and interact with.
This is big, as it's been said for a long time now that word of mouth from friends and family means more and influences purchasing decisions much more than any brand advertising that can be done.
It also falls into line with the success of review sites, product reviews on company websites, and even advertising that has previously been done on Facebook.
If you've ever run Facebook ads, you know you have the option to market to friends of those who already like your page; a compelling message on the ad says that "Joe Smith and 5 of your friends like this page" - it gives credibility in a way we've become used to thanks to social media conversations.
You can learn more about Facebook's Graph Search if you have time; they will be slowly releasing the beta version to US users over time.
In the meantime, you can view a quick tutorial on how it works:
Here's how Graph Search works:
- The search bar first returns the top search suggestions, including people, Pages, apps, places, groups, and suggested searches. People can search for things like restaurants near them, hotels in places they want to travel to, photos posted by Pages they like, or games that their friends like to play.
- These search suggestions take people to a unique results page. The results returned are based on factors that include information that has been shared by your business and the connections of the person searching.
- As has been the case for some time, we may also make search suggestions in the search bar that then can trigger web searches. Web searches will display Bing results and Bing ads, similar to results on Bing.com.
- Pages and apps can still use sponsored results, which appear to people whether or not they have Graph Search (sponsored results have been globally available since August 2012). There are no new ad formats available today.
Time will only tell what effect this will have on social networking; in the meantime, I will patiently wait to get the search released so I can check it out more closely.