What Does Facebook’s New Graph Search Mean For You?

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  • 13 Jan, 2013


On Tuesday, January 16th, 2013, Facebook announced Graph Search which has the potential to change searching the internet as we know it.

For years, Google has dominated the search landscape, leaving only a handful of competitors. Fueled by keyword-based ad revenue, they have helped decide how a generation of internet users have looked for, and on the flip side, what they have seen on the internet. No one has come close to knocking them off their mountaintop offering similar products. While scouring the internet, Google has found our interconnected web, based primarily on links, keywords, images, reviews, and location data. Some of this data their own, but more of it residing freely on the web.

For half as many years, Facebook has offered a tool that collects information. This is not a secret. As of September, 2012, over a billion users have agreed to give some sort of information to Facebook. Facebook has a much more complex bucket of their own data to draw from. The site knows who we are connected to, where we come from, where we've been, and where we are right now. There are images, some tagged with geo-location data, videos tagged with friends and friends of friends. What time of day do people like to get sushi in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago? Facebook knows, if only they can put all of that information together. Because up until now, they have not.

Who, What, When, Where, and Why

These are the 5 W's that are the basics of information gathering, and fundamentals of good journalism. These are also going to be the benefits of the Facebook Graph Search and how the data from the search results is tied together.


Facebook has data from actual people, connected to you or not. This is the who, and the data about the who could be people in your immediate graph, people narrowed down by another option like where, or just people in general.


What would reflect the object or asset you are searching for. This could be an item on Facebook, or an item on the web that has been tagged with Facebook's Open Graph Protocol Meta Data. This meta data allows content creators the ability to categorize their web pages and assets into a system that Facebook understands, among numerous other options.


Thanks to the implementation of the Facebook Timeline, we can see how Facebook's information is organized into time. As users upload and/or create content, they have the ability to modify the date of that content. So if I am uploading a photo of my first day of kindergarten, I can change the date of that photo to 1979, not today's date.


Have you ever checked into a venue using Facebook, Foursquare, Yelp, ban.jo or the like? Well, you have provided the internet with location data. Mobile phone photographs also contain GPS location data. Did you go to an event that had a Facebook event set up for it? All of these things provide accurate "Where" location data to Facebook's ever growing servers.


This is the hardest algorithm to crack, and will most likely be the "make it or break it" aspect of Graph Search. Why will users use Facebook search? The question rings true especially when you consider how poor the performance has been on the regular Facebook search for so long. The questions offered in the demo offer a lot of insight into how Facebook will see the search being used:

  • Restaurants in London my friends have been to
  • Music my friends like
  • People who like Cycling ... and are from my hometown ... and live in Seattle, Washington
  • Photos I like... before 1990
  • Cities my family visited
  • Photos of my friends in New York

The true test is how well users will adapt their search patterns to Graph Search, and how well Facebook will adapt to the user's searches. No one has been able to out-google Google, but no one in the powerful position that Facebook is in has tried to change search in such a drastic way. Only time will tell if Graph Search will change searching on the internet.

Is your content ready?

For years sites have been optimized by SEO Experts for inclusion in Google like it was the only game in town. Much of the same best practices ring true, but there is a lot more that can be done to prepare your content for integration with and inclusion in Facebook. Here are some of the tags from this very post in which we tell Facebook our 5 W's about this page:

< meta property="og:site_name" content="Xeno Media" /> < meta property="og:type" content="article" /> < meta property="og:locale" content="en_US" /> < meta property="og:url" content="http://www.xenomedia.com/perspective/facebook-graph-search" /> < meta property="og:title" content="What does Facebook's new Graph Search mean for you?" /> < meta property="og:description" content="On Tuesday, January 16th, 2013, Facebook announced Graph Search which has the potential to change searching the internet as we know it. For years, Google has dominated the search landscape, leaving only a handful of competitors. Fueled by keyword based ad revenue, they have help decide how a generation of internet users have looked for,…" /> < meta property="article:published_time" content="-001-11-30T00:00:00+00:00" /> < meta property="article:modified_time" content="2013-01-17T18:00:21+00:00" /> < meta property="article:author" content="http://www.xenomedia.com/author/jim" /> < meta property="article:section" content="Perspective" /> < meta property="article:tag" content="Facebook" /> < meta property="article:tag" content="Google" /> < meta property="article:tag" content="Graph Search" /> < meta property="article:tag" content="Search" /> < meta property="article:tag" content="Social Media" /> < meta property="og:image" content="Facebook-Graph-Search.png" /> < meta property="og:image:width" content="595" /> < meta property="og:image:height" content="268" />

You can see that there are Type tags, Location tags, Content Description tags, Time tags and more. This preparation of our content helps us ensure that we will be ready for Facebook's Graph Search. Will you be ready? Contact Us if you would like to learn more.

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