Facebook today announced a new feature that lets users search for information from or about the people or organizations in their network — or, in their social graph. It lets users answer questions like: “Who are my friends that live in San Francisco?”, or “Show me Mexican restaurants in Palo Alto, Calif, my friends have been to”.
I see two huge implications in the near future:
1. People will start their searches at Facebook, instead of Google. When I want to find a restaurant, why rely on people I don’t know, when I can rely on people I trust?
With more than 1 billion people on Facebook, creating more than 240 billion photos and more than a trillion connections, imagine how many searches will be performed each day. As Mike Lazero of BuddyMedia stated,
Every time someone searches for something, your branded content will have an opportunity to appear to Facebook’s vast user base… The combination of social context (what your friends like) and intent (what you’re looking to buy) will make it possible for advertisers to take Facebook’s already amazing targeting to the next level… imagine what happens when you combine intent, social context and custom audiences (i.e. the data you have about your customers). All of a sudden, Ford can advertise to friends of their current customers who are in the market for a car today.
2. As a result, application developers will want to push their data into Facebook, so that people can find their content and information. Imagine if you wanted to search for best practices for using Twitter in business, and you wanted to search for content that had been ‘Liked’ or ‘retweeted’ or linked to by people in your social network — if Facebook could pull all of that information from Twitter, and the blogs of the people in your network… That would be very powerful.
Facebook will know even more about all of us.