The social giant Facebook has launched a new search service named Graph Search. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerburg said that the new service would become the “third pillar” alongside the social networks news feed and timeline services.
Graph Search’s promise is that it will help you find out about a subject not just by providing you with a list of links as Google does but by telling you what your friends recommend, are experts on or liked.
This way you can search for things like “friends who love mountain biking”, “people who work at my company and have been to the Lake District” or “restaurants my friends have been to”, with the idea being that by proxy you get a more personalised recommendation or advice from friends.
One idea of a search that many think will be popular is “Friends of friends who are single and live in London”! But aside from boosting online dating, the addition of this service makes it even clearer that businesses, especially consumer targeted companies; need to make sure that they have a presence on the Facebook.
By having this presence, in the form of a Facebook Page, businesses can make sure that they can interact with their customer base unifying their social existence, increasing their promotional footprint and controlling any negative feedback.
Outside the “Social Graph” Facebook has partnered with Microsoft’s Bing who has said "when people want to search beyond Facebook, they see web search results from Bing with social context and additional information such as Facebook pages".
With the sheer volume of potential searches from the one billion active users* this may be the time to also start considering Bing in your search engine optimisation strategy as well as Google.
*Facebook Key Figures October 2012