17th January 2013

To create a business that took even a small percentage of Google’s search market share is obviously well worth the effort. But we suspect that Facebook would like to do a lot more than that with its new search service graphsearch.

A relatively low key launch this week contrasted with Google’s bid to take on Facebook in its own territory with Google+. But Facebook, allied with Microsoft's bing for more complicated searches, is clearly deadly serious.

At Mindful Money, we’ve done a little searching ourselves to see what the world’s difficult-to-please technology and business websites have to say about the Facebook move and what it means for competition with Google.

Techcrunch spends a lot time road-testing Graphsearch complete with lots of exciting screen grabs. Its verdict – “Some of these searches are silly, but a lot are actually useful.”

Mashable doesn’t like the name and offers to help find a new one.

“The name refers to the commonly-used tech term "social graph," which includes each Facebook user's friends’ and followers’ network. But Facebook members are consumers more than they are tech experts, developers and marketers, so the name is way too technical for the typical user.”

The name aside, Business Insider says the service could be more useful than Google.

It writes: “Facebook's graphsearch, if executed properly, will be more useful than Google searches when it comes to finding personalized results and trusted recommendations. And it will do it all using data Google's search engine can't touch.”

CNNMoney looks to history. It says that Google itself launched inferior versions of Word and Excel to take on Microsoft. Microsoft is still obviously by far and away the market leader, but it might be making even more where it not for these rival cheaper products.

Applying this to the Facebook move, it adds: “It is not aimed at toppling Google from its perch as the king of Web search any time soon. Instead, it is the opening round in a long-term campaign to erode Google's monopoly over the most powerful and profitable business on the Internet.”

Econsultancy says "graphsearch pushes Facebook well beyond the social networking realm. It's a place to socialize and manage connections. Eliminate the newsfeed, the goofy photos, snarky comments, and over-use of the 'Like Button', and it's all about connections. Now, smart search will allow us to traverse connections, allow us to sort connections, and allow us to connect with a greater amount of people in different types of ways."

Business Insider carries these two graphs which show that investors – for reasons unknown – did not seem to like the idea but then recovered their composure.

The Guardian’s technology editor Charles Arthur making a iceberg collision analogy writes: “It feels that these two companies are on a collision course. A very slow, gradual one, but collision nonetheless.”

Venture Beat interviews a digital marketing expert, Blueglass Interactive’s Chris Winfield for a sideways take, but we love his assessment.

“Everything for Facebook ads right now is based on guesses about what you’re interested in, but search became the most effective advertising engine of all time because people are directly looking for something … you see the intent.”

Winfield makes one other point – if they crack this advertisers will be lining up to use it.


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