Facebook has ended speculation and unveiled a search engine within its own network which will allow its users to find information filtered through their friends.
Users will be able to use Facebook's Graph Search product to find anything they're after such as restaurants your network liked, photos from a certain person or era, places or posts about a specific topic. An example given by chief executive Mark Zuckerberg at a press conference in the US was 'friends who like Game of Thrones'.
Graph Search works with a search bar at the top of the page which will return suggestions from within your network. It can also be the case that the system may return web results from Bing, including Bing ads.
For businesses, Graph Search should, in theory, allow consumers to find their pages easier, depending on the information shared by that business. The more 'likes' and 'shares' a brand has within a person's specific network, the higher up it will appear in search results.
Reprise Media director of social Midu Chandra said: “This makes Facebook stand out more as a peer-to-peer network which is essentially giving the network more value which has been a challenge for brands. Without that connection, it's been hard for advertisers to invest in it previously.”
Chandra added that brands will need to give more love to their pages and understand the impact 'likes', 'shares' and content going to have.
For now, Facebook has not revealed any new ad units in conjunctions with Graph Search. Sponsored results will still appear in search results.
Initial speculation about Facebook's announcement pointed to the release of a search engine to rival Google's.
The initial roll-out of Graph Search is limited to a beta version for selected US customers.
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