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The challenges of Facebook Graph Search and its irrelevance millions of people

25 mayo, 2021

Last week “Facebook announced Graph Search”: https: //www.genbeta.com/redes-sociales/facebook-presenta-graph-search-con-el-que-buscaremos-cualquier-tipo-de-informacion-o- connection-within-the-social-network, his main bet to date in the search market. A movement that many have seen as the “birth of a direct competitor to Google”: https: //www.genbeta.com/redes-sociales/la-alianza-entre-bing-y-graph-search-lo-deja- clear-in-facebook-google-is-the-enemy in the medium / long term, using the millions of social signals that have accumulated in recent years. A promising but irrelevant service for a large number of Internet users and practically useless for, probably, a good number of Facebook users.


Graph Search enhances Facebook’s current search product. Facebook’s search engine is terribly poor, serving to find people, pages and brands in a somewhat random way, in the sense that the results shown are often not the correct ones or the ones the user is looking for. These changes are likely to improve the experience for current Facebook users, but They will not become a claim for those people who do not see any incentive to create an account or use the social network more regularly.

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This has a clear consequence, and that is that the improvements proposed and announced last week are focused on, only, one billion people. Yes, I say only because in a closed ecosystem, the only entity that can benefit from such a movement is Bing and Facebook users. The 6 billion More than 1,400 million Internet users who are not part of the ecosystem created by Mark Zuckerberg will not be affected by their online life, nor will they have any incentive to change their habits.

It is very likely that Bing will see an increase in its market share in the coming years thanks to the push of Facebook. A market share dominated by Google in almost every corner of the world, with a 70% share in the United States or more than 90% in all of Europe. Most users who come to Bing results are unlikely to realize which search engine they are using, and if Microsoft succeeds in providing high-quality and relevant results, some users may consider switching to Bing. Even so, this is something very complicated and difficult to predict, especially considering the brand image that Google has today.

Another challenge that Facebook has with its new bet is to encourage its users to behave and use the Like (Like) appropriate. Although Facebook will use many social signals to offer adequate results, everything seems to indicate that the Like is going to be the main reference, with what this implies. I would dare to say that a very important percentage of Facebook users do not relativize the relevance of the Like and this is a very important challenge for Zuckerberg and company: my mother, or less expert Facebook users, do not click on the famous button thinking about the consequences that this can have in terms of the results of a hypothetical search. In the same way that not many users have bothered, until now, to use the Like to really express their preferences on such particular and personal topics as a dentist, a restaurant, a cafeteria or a doctor.

With last week’s announcement The Like takes on an even greater dimension, comparable to the power that the link has in the world of Google and other search engines (the link economy). Making users aware of these changes is key, and much of the success of Graph Search depends on it. A success that, in any case, should not be studied in the short term. Graph Search is a medium / long-term bet on Facebook, trying to look to a future in which social results become more important than lifetime results, which are based on the link economy.

If Facebook is unsuccessful with this bet, its future is likely not to be seriously harmed. The user experience will remain the same whether they use Graph Search or not. In the event that they manage to find the goose that lays the golden eggs and users modify their consideration of the Like and other signals, they can give a serious blow to the table. A blow that will make the computers and mobiles of a billion people rumble. But a hit that 6 billion 1.4 billion remaining people will watch with total indifference.

In Genbeta | “Facebook presents Graph Search, with which we will search for any type of information or connection within the social network”: https: //www.genbeta.com/redes-sociales/facebook-presenta-graph-search-con-el-que -we will search-for-any-type-of-information-or-connection-within-the-social-network and “The alliance between Bing and Graph Search makes it clear: On Facebook, Google is the enemy”: https: // www.genbeta.com/redes-sociales/la-alianza-entre-bing-y-graph-search-lo-deja-claro-en-facebook-google-es-el-enemigo