Should this surprise you? Facebook has unveiled a new search function to take on . . . Google. The idea is, when you search a term or product or name, Facebook will pull up public information from your friends and network, creating relevant and rapid assessments of how your community assesses things.
Google, anticipating this initiative, has spent a small fortune in building its own social media, Google+, which already does much of what Facebook plans to do — for those of us active in the Google community. (I’m one of about 400 Top Contributors worldwide on the Google help forums.)
Google’s challenge, however, is that despite all of its efforts, it hasn’t been able to break Facebook’s grip on the general public’s social media habits and utilization.
But Facebook has a far larger social network and a sizable head-start after spending years encouraging its members to add photos and all sorts of personal information to their profiles, from basic data like location, employer name and interests to more sensitive details such as age, religion and romantic status. (Wall Street Journal).
Where will these changes take us?
For this reason, the searches between the two sites will differ in one crucial way: a Google search will yield results of what’s out on the Web in general. So, searching for a new movie to watch will help you find a movie that the general public knows about.
Searching on Facebook for a movie, however, will instead pull up a movie that many of your friends like, regardless of how obscure it is. It elevates the opinion of your friends over that of the general public.
For this reason, Facebook Graph is expected to disrupt the businesses of other companies, such as Yelp, which helps people search for restaurants and other local businesses, or LinkedIn, which helps people search for business connections.
Indeed, search and social media are combining and creating powerful new resources, which respond to our basic human needs to validate our choices and build on word-of-mouth reputation and relationships from people we know and trust. While there can be abuses, I think the you will only need to worry about these developments if your business is trying to cover up shoddy behaviour or hope to avoid the trends by blocking access and association with the social media revolution.