The big announcement from Facebook has dropped and it is all about DISCOVERY. The new graph search tool enables users to discover people and content based on their association with others in their ‘social graph’.  This latest development is undoubtedly a play to steal some of Google’s search thunder and create a new revenue stream. And it shouldn’t be underestimated, it is a very big deal, and could potentially shape search…

Google made its play for people-centered search last year with ‘Search Plus Your World’, but for the first time a person’s relationship with a piece of content is going to dictate how relevant it is – and more importantly – the relationship is going to be completely transparent! We will see, for example, that our friend, John Smith, Likes Bodeans in Soho.  I would call it an ‘honest’ development, but with the “Like-gaming” that will no doubt ensue, I foresee this not being entirely the case…

Here are three key things you need to know about the new graph search functionality:

1. Discover people who share your interests

Facebook has a remit to grow the people you are connected to. Your ever-expanding network keeps the social graph alive and your news feed full. One of the key ways you might now connect with someone new is via your shared interests. Why not set up a running club with people who love running in your area, or as in the below example from Facebook, find people with a shared passion for cycling?

 

 

 

2. Discovery through photos 

Looking for inspiration for a trip? Digging through the archives for some family classics? Want to find that big night out from last year? The new graph search allows users to find photos by using a range of simple phrases such as ‘photos I Like’, or ‘photos my friends took in London’. This could be a great opportunity for brands to get their content found, particularly those who are destination-based. Beware though, those bad experiences you were hoping to forget may well find themselves resurfacing and being shared with the world!

 

3. Discover music, places and more

Essentially this is about getting recommendations from your friends. Find restaurants that your friends Like and then hone that down by location.  Quite how far this stretches beyond places and music has not yet been defined, but certainly a great start! Finding places to go based on friend recommendations isn’t unusual, but transfer this natural discovery method to Facebook and you’re on to a sure-fire winner. As this grows, watch out for the rush in destination-based businesses incentivising check-ins and Likes!

 

Get over to Facebook and watch the video about the new graph search for more information. You’ll also find out more about Facebook’s plans for addressing privacy, a topic which is bound to be a subject for debate as we learn more about the new tool.

 

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