Today, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s newest feature: an internal search function called Graph Search. Not even yet in beta, Graph Search is Facebook’s biggest innovation since September 2011, when Timeline was introduced. Emphasizing the differences between it and existing search models, Zuckerberg insists that Graph will not provide answers via links like Google or Bing but will simply provide answers. That is, as long as those answers can be found within the web of Facebook’s one billion users, their 240 billion photos and one trillion connections. Some say Graph’s integration could be huge and helpful. Others are more skeptical, questioning the privacy vulnerabilities of a search that allows users to access data outside their direct communities. “Graph Search great for creepers. Type ‘single women who live in Brooklyn & are friends w/ John’ & it pops up,” Tweeted Kevin Roose, technology writer for New York Magazine. Funny–but he has a point. We polled L2’s staff for their thoughts on today’s announcement. Some of their impressions below.

 

 

“I don’t see this technology taking off, simply because the information that we present on our Facebook profiles isn’t accurate, it’s aspirational. I bet 90 percent of my friends would love to do a Harry Potter movie night, but you wouldn’t know that from Graph Searching our über-curated Interest pages.”

-Claude de Jocas, Research Team, Digital IQ Index: Hotels

 

“It’s a smart move by Facebook, which is currently under-leveraging search in every way. I’m a little skeptical of the UI for it given the sneak peak provided, but, much like everything on Facebook, I’m sure it will go through many iterations and refinements until it meets both user and investor expectations. Overall, any change to Facebook search is a step in the right direction.”

–Ari Wolfe, Research Lead, Digital IQ Index: Spirits

 

“When I think of “Search”, Facebook is not on my list of go to sites. Facebook desperately needed to improve its search function, so it will be interesting to see if and how Facebook Graph changes the search landscape on the platform. Also, depending on how strict the privacy settings are, a user’s query on Facebook Graph could potentially pull up very limited results. “

–Daniella Crawley, Events Producer

 

“It will be interesting to see how brands with an active Facebook presence utilize Graph Search. Previously, Facebook served mainly as a platform through which to interact with consumers and brand followers. With Graph Search, Facebook transforms into a search engine and research tool for brands to study their customers and competitors. What other common interests do a brand’s consumers share? What competitor brands are frequently liked alongside a brand’s own page? Graph Search’s ongoing development will continue to shed light on exactly how powerful Facebook data has become.”

–John Yi, Intern

 

“It’s great to see Facebook’s data will now be more searchable.  I am particularly interested to see how people use it to find businesses and services — since Facebook doesn’t (yet?) offer formal ratings and reviews, will Graph Search serve as a first place for users to look for what resonates among friends before searching sites like Yelp for reviews that provide color?  Will users go from Yelp, having found potential businesses to consider, to Graph Search seeking the final word from their friends?  Or, will we learn that even an informationally poor nod from a friend is typically all the evidence we need to choose a restaurant/business/service provider?”

–Adrienne Ronai, Research Lead, Digital IQ Index: Watches & Jewelry

 

“In the race to provide ultimate relevance in search, Facebook is blessed with a wealth of user data.”

–Stasha Rosen, Research Lead, Digital IQ Index: Beauty

 

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