Monday, January 28, 2013

"Graph Search": Transforming Facebook into a moneymaker & dating site

If there is one thing in our lives that we expect to drastically change on a daily basis, it is Facebook. From layouts to innovative additions like the "like" button; it is a social media site which is constantly adding new features with the intention of awing us. Many times, I would have to say, that these changes are unwelcome and ultimately, confusing.

However, Facebook's newest invention, Graph Search, will dramatically change the company in two different ways. The first is that it will undoubtedly increase sales by offering advertisers a precise microtargeting. The second and less expected change is that Facebook will become somewhat of a dating service. Before you laugh out loud at both of these implications, read on.

According to a Bloomberg Businessweek article, Facebook's Graph Search's main intention is to allow users to see their friends' preferences regarding aspects like restaurants, vacations, career choices, and stores.  Users can type a specific phrase, such as "sushi restaurants my friends in Poughkeepsie like", and receive customized results. This is where Facebook plans to gain revenue in sales. In a way, Facebook will triumph over sites like Google and LinkedIn by allowing users to do a search and acquire only the most accurate result they are looking for. Facebook users will know that their good friend enjoyed the local burger joint and that is why they "liked" the page or "checked in" there. It makes a lot of sense and I think Facebook will see great success with it. 

In a world of "passive consumers", meaning those who wait for information like "rewarding careers", this is a great innovation. Facebook has trained their users to be dependent on the news feed and this is just another way that Zuckerberg is planning to make Facebook the social media phenomena that it is.

The second aspect, turning Facebook into somewhat of a dating website, is what interests me the most. As a person who is absurdly single and addicted to Facebook, I wholeheartedly welcome this innovation and acknowledge its genius. According to a Mashable article, Facebook's newest Graph Search will allow it to compete with the most popular online dating sites such as

People will now be able to search phrases such as "friends of my friends who are single and living in Poughkeepsie". With this, Facebook is allowing users to find others outside of their immediate social circle. According to a study conducted by Stanford University, already 10% of couples who met online previously knew each other and had re-connected on a social media site like Facebook. 

This new tool will allow users to search for other singles who share their things like interests, location, age, hometown, or current city. Personally, I feel Facebook has a huge advantage because they are allowing singles who share mutual friends to meet, which is more socially acceptable to many who do not understand online dating.

Here is an example of the absurdity we can expect to see when people begin using the Graph Search tool posted by the Huffington Post:

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