Facebook turns up the heat on Google Search

Social network's Graph Search could change the way people think about search

By , Computerworld |  Networking, Facebook, Google

If Facebook can succeed in transforming the search world into one where queries are answered by friends, or online-only friends, then Google will have a different issue on its hands.

How can Google get that kind of social backup? The company can pull friends' likes and dislikes off its own Google+ social network, but with a fraction of Facebook's user base, (it had 135 million members in December) it will have a smaller database from which to call information.

"This [Facebook] search could indeed impact Google on a growing scale over the next few years if it clicks with users," said Kagan. "If I were Google, I would see this as a Facebook warning shot across their bow. This is not an immediate attack, but nevertheless an attack is coming."

Some analysts say this is the opening round in a long-term campaign to unseat Google from its top spot in the search market. Graph Search would transform Facebook from being not only a social network, but an interactive tool that helps answer its users every-day questions, and find new favorite places and things.

Help from Microsoft

Facebook isn't alone in its efforts to rock the search world.

While Facebook built and is operating Graph Search for queries inside the social network, Microsoft's Bing search engine handles Web searches on Facebook.

For instance, if a user searches for "UCLA alumni living in Dallas," Facebook would handle the query. However, if the user searched for an answer to "what is the Higgs boson particle?", Bing would handle that.

Microsoft, an investor in Facebook, has been not only a partner with the social network, but also a longstanding rival of Google.

"Only together can Facebook and Bing take on Google," said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy. "Facebook brings the new content for social Graph Search and Bing has general search. Combined they can change the search game... This makes complete sense for Facebook to go after Google's monopoly on search as it means billions in profits."

Facebook may have unveiled Graph Search on Tuesday, but it's still in a limited beta release and only available to English-speaking users. Facebook has not said when it might be released on a wider scale or adapted for other languages.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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