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Facebook to Launch Social Search Engine

     Suppose you’re in New York City for a job interview, and you’ve never been there before. You’ll only be there one night, and you want to find somewhere nice to eat during your visit. With more than 4,200 restaurants to choose from, how do you decide where to go?
     Before the Internet existed, you could talk to friends and family for references on where to dine. Now, you can simply search “restaurants in New York City” on Google to find a destination. If you wish to further investigate your restaurant choice, you can even read restaurant reviews on sites like Yelp, Zagat or Urbanspoon.
     Facebook’s Graph Search, announced Jan. 15, will soon offer another yet another option.
     Graph Search is a search engine that gathers results for users based on their friends’ likes, photos, check-ins and more. It combines the ease of an Internet search with the unique make-up of a person’s social network to provide instant results to a search as specific as: “restaurants my friends have been to in New York City.”
     Facebook presents Graph Search as an important addition to its website, labeling it as the “third pillar” next to its Newsfeed and Timeline. If Graph Search is as big a deal as anticipated, businesses may have to adapt their branding strategy on Facebook.
     According to an article in The Huffington Post, Graph Search has the potential to cause brands with multiple locations to find their Facebook strategy “turned on its head.” Corporate pages will decrease in value because Graph Search is geared to provide practical, nearby results, which increases the influence of local pages.
     Graph Search is being tested for user feedback so it can be refined before its release to the general public. It will initially offer basic search categories such as people, photos, places and business pages, and it will be continuously adapted to include more.
By: Rachel Stephens, University of Florida PRSSA Communications Committee