Here is an interesting guest post from David Benoliel
More and more websites are starting to implement the “like” functionality that Facebook released earlier this year, but what does this really mean to you as an organization? We don’t need to worry about Google going out of business any time soon, but what does this mean to the business of Search Engines? And more importantly the investments that companies make in marketing through them.
In April of this year Facebook launched the Open Graph protocol which allows a standard web site to place a “like” or “recommend” button below a content posting.
What this basically means that if I click on the recommend button in a travel site for example, then I am recommending it to my friends, or any other user on Facebook who does a search in Facebook using a keyword from that web page.
The image below shows a search result from a query I did for “traveling to the world cup”. These search results show posts by everyone on Facebook.
Facebook Search Results
As you can see, the distinction here from a Google search is that the search result is personalized (i.e. you can see who posted it, what they think, like, dislike, etc.).
So is this personalized or “socialized” view of content more relevant than a set of links provided in a Google search? I’ve asked around and found people divided. The short answer is that it depends on what type of content you are searching for. If you are looking for opinion or insight-based content then Facebook may be a better route since it adds a social context. However, if you’re interested in finding out a broader spectrum of un-biased information, then Google has you covered (usually over 11,000,000 times). So back to our travel example, Facebook is better to find out opinions about getting to the World Cup, whereas Google is better as providing you with all the ways to get there.
As an organization, I believe that adding this functionality is a no-brainer. Facebook hasn’t said exactly how many websites have implemented the “like” or “recommend” features, however the protocol was an extension of the company’s existing Facebook Connect service including allowing users to log in with their Facebook credentials, or “sharing” a post . According to Facebook, more than a million websites, including busy sights like The Huffington Post, have integrated the features. Another interesting comment from Facebook is that some 150 million of the network’s more than 400 million users “engage with Facebook” in some way through external sites every month. That’s kind of like saying that about a third of all the people actively using the web can connect your organization’s site to the social web. Hello!! Where do I sign up?
So will Facebook’s social search engine be a Google killer? Of course not! Google is everywhere and has large investments in its social media strategy as well (i.e. Google Buzz and more). People will want un-biased access to information that they will want to wade through. However, as Facebook picks up steam, there is now a credible competitor on the scene, and a good thing at that.
David Benoliel - VP, Interactive
david.benoliel [at] cyberplex [dot] com| www.cyberplex.com