Facebook's Graph Search on a phone may be years away. But one can imagine a mobile Graph Search app alerting us to, say, what percentage of Facebook friends liked a particular restaurant as we stroll past it.
Mobile technology both creates new data-collecting possibilities for search engines and allows them to be more situation-aware, delivering relevant results based on behavior patterns, the context of what you are doing, and when you're doing it. Google's Google Now service says it "gets you just the right information at just the right time." But in my experience with Google Now, it hasn't yet delivered on that promise.
Try asking Google Now on your smartphone to "find me Starbucks" while navigating with Google Maps on a road trip. If you're lucky, Google will find you a Starbucks just a few exits ahead. But it's my experience Google Now more often than not chokes and spits up directions to a Starbucks I passed 20 minutes earlier.
I can't decide who has collected the data about me. Is it Google or Facebook? When it comes to hyper-personalized search, maybe it doesn't matter who has the biggest data set. Facebook's beta version of Graph Search isn't winning over the critics, yet. But the hyper-personalization search wars have just gotten started. By 2014, who knows: Maybe Facebook will find me a Starbucks 90% of my "friends" like, just down the road a few exits.
(PCWorld's Tom Spring contributed to this report)