Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Facebook Could Do Well In Search

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBaseSearch is the core of what Google does. Search is where Google makes almost all its money. Google gives away Android for free because, well, it will make money off of search. And I don't doubt Google will keep innovating. When blogs first burst onto the scene, and Google search results were being seriously skewed in favor of blog posts, Google tweaked its algorithms. Google will similarly respond to the content farms and the SEOed to the hilt sites.

But just like an out of control inbox with Gmail gave an opening to Facebook Messages, I think Facebook can by now see an opening in search as well. When was the last time you went past the first page of search results?
Jeff Atwood: StackOverflow: Trouble In the House of Google: Like any sane person, I'm rooting for Google in this battle, and I'd love nothing more than for Google to tweak a few algorithmic knobs and make this entire blog entry moot. Still, this is the first time since 2000 that I can recall Google search quality ever declining, and it has inspired some rather heretical thoughts in me -- are we seeing the first signs that algorithmic search has failed as a strategy? Is the next generation of search destined to be less algorithmic and more social?
What would social search look like? It will be to do with that like button. The like button will have to show up on as many sites as possible. And Facebook will have to grow from 500 million people to a billion people. And people will have to routinely press the like button. Constantly be voting.

And then you could ask Facebook to fetch websites on certain topics. You could limit the search to sites liked by your friends, or friends and friends of friends, or friends and friends of friends, and their friends, out to three circles. But you would not have the option to search for sites liked by all Facebook users.
Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseBecause then the spammers would get in.

A search engine of this sort will not make Google go away. Most people would still go to Google. But I have a feeling Facebook search will end up being pretty widely used.

I don't see how Facebook can skip doing search.

Going Backwards: FoodSpotting, FourSquare, Twitter, Facebook
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