Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Social Search Network

I am watching the interview on CBS 60 Minutes about Mark Zuckerberg and the new Facebook upgrades; specifically FB Messages and Profile.

I have been running FB Messages for a few weeks now and it has taken all comments and messages I have generated with my friends since 2006 and listed them all in this one area. I have a complete timeline of all messages with them. When I send messages now, I have combined texting and email all in one window. I now have a Facebook email address at where even non-Facebook users can get a hold of me.

I just started playing with the new profile feature which changes how people learn about me. Before, there was a lot more clicking. Now, the heading at the top of the page lists the basic information I would be comfortable sharing with someone new. I can add and change the profile information and I am still keeping my profile private to only the friends that I want to share that information with.

All this is nice and makes for an easier navigation with Facebook. It is a design factor that has been needed to reduce the amount of clicking for information. But this isn't the WOW Factor of the new Facebook. The wow, shock and awe is now seen in the function of search in Facebook.

Facebook has gathered all of our likes and mentions of products so that we are the collective information hub for our network. You can see on sites like CNN, CBS, and product sites where friends either recommend or like a certain part of the page. This information ties back to Facebook and the search engine will help us not just find information but get a personal experience or note from our friends based on what we search for.

The search box now lets me search for products and shop the comments and "likes" of my entire network. Instead of just searching for topics in a generic search engine, I am searching my friends for a shared shopping experience. If I started to shop for a Toyota Prius, I will get the recommendations and notes of my friend network.

We are now a social search network and that is a direct competition with Google and Bing and other search engines. Search has now become personal. This is something these other sites haven't been able to create because the network is fractured. Some of us are Bing users or Google users but ALL of us are Facebook users.

Is the search result more or less valuable when it is recommended by a friend?

What happens when information is presented in results guided by the thumbs-up "like" by your network?

What value is your social network when it now becomes your guide for finding information online?

Try the search for yourself by typing in a product or media in the search box. Click on the result and then scroll down to see friends who like this product. I am guessing you can now contact these friends to find out why they like the product. Each of us become pseudo-experts in what we are liking because we are now references for the searches our network will attempt.

I hope my network needs my advice on videos of people falling! :)

There are so many possibilities and many more questions to consider based on this change. I am really blown away by the new Facebook. I look forward to exploring more and seeing what they come up with next!