We search nerds have known that Facebook has been developing its own search product to rival Google for a while. Facebook Graph Search and Google Plus both aim to show you recommendations from people in your circle, which is just another factor in the personalization of search. The value of which is huge. Facebook Graph may just succeed more than Google Plus because the majority of your friends are actually active on Facebook.
During his announcement of Graph Search, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg illustrated that if you searched for a Mexican restaurant in your town the Graph will show you which of your friends have checked in there and what they have to say about it. Other applications for Graph could be seeing who in your Facebook network works at a certain company and sending them a message asking to hear their thoughts.
Surely they’ve already figured out a way to monetize this. If an ad unit is incorporated within the Graph, advertisers can probably expect a higher CTR than to what they’ve been seeing with the already successful Sponsored Stories and its image and text sidebar ads. Smart advertisers know that that the key to a successful campaign is relevance to your target and the emphasis on relevance is what has spelled out AdWords’ success for Google.
For searches beyond the Graph, Facebook has partnered with Bing, which they’ve been doing for a long time. The Facebook-Google war has been going for a while, the first major strike seems to have been when Facebook first partnered with Bing to make search more ‘social’ in October 2010. Graph Search is the next step in tech companies’ endeavours to make search more social. Google has been trying this for some time with the now defunct Google Buzz and with Google Plus allowing users to +1 websites.
Facebook’s success with Graph search will depend on if users feel it delivers greater utility than beloved Google.