Facebook has finally revealed their latest project. It’s called “Graph Search” and essentially, it’s a new and improved search engine for Facebook. Though most websites incorporate some form of Google’s algorithm in their search feature, Facebook’s new graph search is powered by Microsoft’s Bing. The partnership further cements the relationship between Facebook and Bing, and comes after the social media’s negotiations with Google fell through.
This new search feature is much like Google’s “Search, plus Your World,” which was a social search feature launched in an effort to make search results more relevant to the individual. The lack of Google+ users may have stunted that social search feature’s ability to reach its full potential, but with billions of Facebook users, it will be interesting to see how Graph Search works out.
As for now, Graph Search is in beta, requiring users to get on a waiting list to use it, and only focuses on four core areas: people, photos, places, and interests. For example, if searching for friends that meet a certain requirement, a user would search “my friends who live in California,” and based on what information they’ve decided to share on their profiles, friends meeting that criteria would show up in the results page ranked in order of previous interaction.
Facebook’s improvements are working towards allowing people to search using common speech. For example, when searching for photos, a user could search “pictures of my friends in Florida from 2009.” For businesses, they could search “restaurants my friends have been to in Chicago.” Then the results would show businesses that friends have checked in to, Liked, and/or tagged in a post or photo.
So what does this mean for businesses? Facebook addressed this in their announcement today and said the best thing businesses can do is make sure their pages are up-to-date, utilize as many features as possible, and engage as many fans as possible. Ultimately, it will make content easier to find, and although there are no paid search advertisements yet, sponsored stories will still show up in search results as sponsored results.
Here are some suggestions for businesses:
- Upload a memorable profile picture (minimum 620×620 pixel resolution)
- Make sure the name, category, vanity URL, and information in the “About” section are up-to-date and shared on Facebook
- If you have a physical location, update the address to make sure the page can appear as a result when searching for a specific location
- Merge any duplicate locations that exist for your brand
- Strengthen your Page’s connections: it’s not just the number of fans but also the strength of those connections that are important
As Facebook integrates this feature into everyday use, it will be interesting to see the effects. To join the waiting list for the beta invite for Graph Search, click here.