Facebook, Likes, and Search: Important Now?

September 29, 2010

“Facebook Likes Just Officially Became More Important to Search” calls attention to the “Like” function. The little button is turning up on quite a few Web sites. Part of its charm is that each button and the attendant clicks pump useful data into the maw of Facebook. Google may think Bing.com is its number one competitor, but I think the Xooglers at Facebook are a growing challenge. Nothing works like the scent of a big payoff and knowledge of what the Google can and cannot do refracted through the filter of “been there, done that” folks.

Here’s the passage that caught my attention:

The second one is in line with a feature the company was testing that we mentioned recently. “Consistent with how we treat other Open Graph object types, we’ve introduced the ability to see articles shared by your friends in the search typeahead,” says Facebook’s Namita Gupta.  “For instance, if your friend clicks ‘Like’ on an article at a news site, the article will appear in your News Feed and can now also surface in the search typeahead.” The results, as AllFacebook described upon finding the feature being tested, showed content based on the number of likes and the number of friends who liked the particular object. “The search results have now become dramatically more relevant with the inclusion of recent news articles, something that previously wasn’t accessible via Facebook’s open graph search results,” AllFacebook’s Nick O’Neill had said. “Currently, the search results only appear within the drop down from Facebook’s search box, however I’d assume that this will eventually shift to Facebook’s search area, which has yet to undergo a significant overhaul.”  Either way, there is clearly a direct connection between likes and search now. It’s essentially Facebook’s version of PageRank.

You will want to read the full Chris Crum write up. We want to offer three search-ilicious observations:

  1. The Facebook approach generated curated information, which is a good thing for most Facebook users. Who wants to be a Boolean query expert when “friends” provide the info?
  2. The advertising value of these tiny bits of data are quite interesting. Toss the Likes data in with the profile data and you have a direct marketer’s dream: digital direct marketing to a very tight demographic.
  3. Facebook is going to be able to offer an index of curated (member identified Web sites) and now curated content (member selected stories). Oh, oh. The world of the commercial database producer has just been put on wheels and trundled over to Facebook.

In short, hello, disruption. So it is not just Google who will feel some pressure. Like the good old days of 2006 for Google, other seemingly unrelated business sectors get the evil eye.

Stephen E Arnold, September 29, 2010



One Response to “Facebook, Likes, and Search: Important Now?”

  1. Kimberlee Morrison on October 4th, 2010 3:35 pm

    This type of social search actually seems useful. The truth is that as search evolves, so too must the way people conduct searches.

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