Palo Alto, California – Facebook has launched the Graph Search service in a move that could signal the future direction of online searching.
The new service is likely to threaten Google’s position as the unmatched leader in web search because it reduces the importance of searching from scratch, replacing it with a pre-filtered search that sources results through your social network.
Results are prioritised according to your Facebook friends’ preferences and recommendations, and those of your extended network. The term ‘graph’ refers to the matrix of personal data that can be mapped by Facebook to generate profiles of different consumer typologies in detail.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that the product was still in development and would only be available to a small proportion of users initially, in keeping with the Betapreneurial style still maintained by Silicon Valley’s biggest players. As Facebook has 1bn users, according to the network, the company can swiftly gauge functionality and usability by testing from within a small slice of its overall network.
The full potential application of the Graph Search function has yet to be established, but Greenlight, a digital marketing agency, believes the company could win almost a quarter of the global search market from Google, following its consumer survey from 2012.
Commentators have speculated about Facebook’s faltering progress towards effective monetisation. Graph Search may offer a way to generate profit as it could enable the company to capitalise on search-based advertising through micro-targeting.