Tag Archives: Facebook

2 Big Ways Facebook’s Graph Search Will Change The Internet

I’m normally bearish on over-hyped apps and features, and I’m a tough guy to impress. But Facebook’s new Graph Search product is awesome. I was lucky enough to get an early preview on my account and am blown away at how powerful and game-changing this feature is.

Graph Search is Facebook’s latest way of leveraging the billions of data points on their social graph, instantly determining the connections between them, and displaying a set of search results that’s far richer than anything you’ve ever seen.

Here’s an illustrative example – I’ve never been to Santa Barbara, and don’t have any friends who live there. So I typed “Restaurants in Santa Barbara that my friends have been to” and got some good results.

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Graph Search takes your query and traverses Facebook’s massive social graph to find search results that meet all of your criteria and are personalized to you. Just try that with Google – the results aren’t nearly as useful.

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My query to Google produced the same old stale results, while my query to Facebook produced two highly relavent hits that I’d be very likely to try. Google is just Google, but Facebook’s solution means I don’t need Foursquare, Yelp, Google, and a number of other services. Graph Search is in its infancy, but in the near term it’ll change how you search in two key ways:

Natural Language Search will become the default. Users will expect every search bar, from the article search on the NY Times to your enterprise Intranet, to accept and properly parse natural language queries. “Bob from Account Management’s phone number, at our DC office.” “Nate Silver’s blog posts about Baseball during 2011.” Siri brought this concept mainstream, but Graph Search executed it in a way that will make it a default expectation.

We’ll assume that all of our available data points will (and should) inform search results. When I search Google for “Hotels in Austin,” I’ll expect that it knows I have higher elite status with Hilton than I do at Marriott, prefer full service hotels, and won’t buy hotel wifi if there’s good LTE coverage in the area. So rather than show me a list of hotels, a good response might be “The Austin Hilton Downtown is a good choice and is known for having fast internet available. Plus there are five other similar choices nearby.” Search engines will draw from not only every query you’ve executed, but everything else that company and service knows about you, and will produce highly personalized results.

As Facebook continues to develop Graph Search, I expect that what others have been saying will also come true – it could be a viable competitor to OKCupid, Match, and corporate recruitment tools. But regardless of which products Graph Search ends up competing with, it’ll change the way we think of search for the next 5+ years.

Sharing Publicly on Facebook

Lately I’ve been very surprised at the number of people who are sharing with the “public” setting on Facebook. I personally share a lot with the world (subscribe here!), which is a conscious choice I made years ago and have rarely regretted since. But along the way, I’ve seen a lot of outbursts by friends and colleagues how Facebook is exposing personal information in a way that violates their privacy.

I’ve always disagreed, arguing that if you don’t want people to see something, don’t put it online, and that while the privacy settings on Facebook aren’t the most intuitive, they do work. I’ve gotten burned a few times when I haven’t followed my own good advice, but for the most part those two rules have held true for me.

With all that in mind, it’s surprising to me the amount that I see the “globe” icon (indicating a post is visible to everyone) appear in my news feed. I’m inclined to think it’s user error and not intentional. Thoughts?

Where HotPotato Fits (and why an acquisition should be about more than talent)

The rumor mill is swirling that Facebook is about to buy HotPotato, and that the acquisition will be all about talent. That’d be a shame, because although it has yet to pick up steam, HotPotato fills a killer space in the marketplace of social interaction. Here’s how I see a few small parts of “social” evolving and why HotPotato’s concept will be an important part of that.
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