Alright, my title is a little harsh, but you might agree with me once you have the new Facebook Graph Search. I recently got access to Graph Search for my individual account and let me tell you, it has been a very interesting experience!
If you aren’t familiar with Graph Search, it will be replacing the current search bar and allow you to do more specific searches within Facebook focused on people, photos, places and likes. It is currently in beta and gradually being rolled out to Facebook users and businesses who join the waitlist, which you can do here.
Initially, I found the new feature to be extremely creepy. For example, here is a screen shot of my search results for Photos of my friends taken in East Lansing, Michigan.
Pretty harmless, right? Sure, until I scroll over More Than 1,000 Photos which gives me the option to refine this search. With one simple click I can remove my friends from the search making it Photos taken in East Lansing, Michigan. As I scrolled through the 80 photos from the first five pages of the search results, I counted six that had been posted by my friends. Still, not a huge deal, but this is just the beginning.
Next I altered the search slightly to People in photos taken in East Lansing, Michigan by clicking on People tagged in these photos which returned more than 1,000 people. Now that my search was focused on people, the options to refine this search were overwhelming. I could narrow down my results based on the Basic Info, Work and Education, Likes and Interests, Photos and Videos, Living, and Relationships and Family sections of a profile. Basically a person can slice and dice a search to find a person that fits the exact profile, which is creepy.
After I felt like the biggest Facebook stalker in the world from experimenting with the different refine this search options, I realized that Graph Search could be a powerful tool for businesses. I say “could” because a lot will depend on how Facebook users react to the social search engine.
If users embrace Graph Search and share a lot of information on their profile, businesses can benefit from Facebook’s new feature. Businesses can learn more about their customers and potential customers using the variety of new search options that will be available and also enhance the relationship they have with them. Another benefit for businesses is that it’s easier for individuals to see pages their friends and friends of friends ‘like’ with Graph Search. People are more willing to check out a new business if their friends or acquaintances are a fan.
Alternatively, if users don’t like the idea of Graph Search, they may remove information from their profile to prevent themselves from showing up in search results. Businesses could potentially lose fans if they unlike pages for the same reason, which would be a big disadvantage.
As I mentioned before, Graph Search is still in beta so we won’t see the full effect of it for a while. Even though I recognize the potential advantages of Graph Search for businesses, I still find it extremely creepy and probably always will!
What do you think of Graph Search? Do you ‘like’ the new feature or do you think it’s every Facebook stalkers dream come true?