Comments from Robin Grant, global managing director / founder of global social media agency, We Are Social, on Facebook’s earlier announcement of its graph search function:
“Graph Search’s immediate impact will be very small – it seems that this is a product that has been built without any reference to user need. At the moment it offers little real utility, and requires a massive change in behaviour for people to start using it. As a result it’s likely to flop initially, just like Wolfram|Alpha did on launch.
“Its only real use at the moment is when you want to find out about things about friends of friends, and then use your mutual friend as an introduction – “friends of friends who are single and live in London” or “friends of friends who work in marketing at Google” – which, let’s face it, is not that often.
“But, if over time Facebook evolves it beyond the current limits of People, Photos, Places, and Interests, and in turn users warm to it, it could succeed. This would mean that Facebook’s sponsored result ads will become more relevant for advertisers, and ultimately it will mean that raw fan numbers will be much more important to brands, as to appear in Graph Search results a brand will need to have a friend of the searcher as a fan.
“It will also make it essential for retailers, or any business with physical locations, to maintain Facebook place pages for each of their branches.
“While Graph Search is currently unlikely to worry Google, if it survives the next few months of scrutiny from the media and Facebook users actually start using it, it could prove a threat in the long term.”