Excuse us for being a little skeptical about the relevance of Facebook‘s new “Graph Search” function, presented to reporters yesterday by the company’s communications staffers on demo stations that New York Magazine’s Kevin Roose calls “PR Borgs.”
Seriously, though: Why would we want to search for “pictures that my friends took in Canada” or “dentists’ offices where my friends have checked in” or “single women in Park Slope who know one of my friends and like Game of Thrones“? (OK, that last one might make sense if we were still single.)
The more we think about it, though, we feel like graph search–which really needs a new name, BTW–could infringe upon the territory of other social networks, primarily LinkedIn, Foursquare, Yelp, dating sites like Match.com and the big one…Google.
What does this mean for the PR world?
Well, let’s say you have restaurant clients or clients who run dating sites/apps: will Yelp reviews and dating profiles become less relevant as people gain the ability to search for “Indian restaurants in Chicago that my friends like” or “single men aged 25-30 in the St. Louis area?”
Perhaps even more importantly, the search could make your clients’ sponsored content more relevant. What if your client could pay to put their posts below relevant searches? And wouldn’t you want your company’s page to come up when potential clients or employees search for “PR firms in the New York area with entertainment expertise?”
One last point: Microsoft is Facebook’s partner in this rollout, so Bing will help you locate any info you can’t find within your own network. While some wonder whether Google will lose some of its market share, Liz Gannes of All Things D makes a great point: Google could avoid some of its biggest PR problems over antitrust lawsuits by pointing out that it no longer completely dominates the market due to Facebook’s latest move.
So, can you imagine Facebook’s graph search affecting your clients–or your future campaigns? Will you use it for work-related research or promo campaigns, or will it only be useful for finding a new Chinese takeout place in your neighborhood?
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