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facebook search will matter
published by , on 11/08/2009

If you believe Wired magazine, Facebook is Google’s worst nightmare. From a July article entitled “Great Wall of Facebook: The Social Network’s Plan to Dominate the Internet — and Keep Google Out“:

Today, the Google-Facebook rivalry isn’t just going strong, it has evolved into a full-blown battle over the future of the Internet—its structure, design, and utility. For the last decade or so, the Web has been defined by Google’s algorithms—rigorous and efficient equations that parse practically every byte of online activity to build a dispassionate atlas of the online world. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg envisions a more personalized, humanized Web, where our network of friends, colleagues, peers, and family is our primary source of information, just as it is offline. In Zuckerberg’s vision, users will query this “social graph” to find a doctor, the best camera, or someone to hire—rather than tapping the cold mathematics of a Google search. It is a complete rethinking of how we navigate the online world, one that places Facebook right at the center. In other words, right where Google is now.

The power of Facebook (and Twitter, but that’s another post) as a search engine is undeniable and is likely at the heart of how the company will find its way to the pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow. But until recently, we weren’t really sure what this new search might look like.

facebook-search.jpg

In this example, we picked a random HR vendor, Jobvite. Our trusted Facebook friend, Mason Wong, really likes Jobvite. He says, “I’m a customer and a fan of Jobvite, which is the primary recruiting system used where I currently work, and at my previous workplace as well.” He even added a video.

Had I been in the market for an applicant tracking solution, this would likely drive me to Jobvite for a test drive. I might even contact Mason for more information before making a purchasing decision. Either way, utilizing Facebook’s new search functionality to tap into my network, or just see what the community at large is saying, can and will affect the way people find information and make buying choices.

Alternatively, a quick trip to Google and typing in “Jobvite” fails to reveal Mason’s positive commentary. The usual suspects of blogs, corporate links and social media sites can be found instead. There’s nothing wrong with such sources, and most people will likely visit those in a complimentary fashion, no matter what, but our private networks and the wisdom of crowds will potentially have more and more weight over time when spending our hard-earned dollars.

Searching in the manner should also serve as a wake-up call that if you’re currently not implementing a social media strategy at your company, well, you’d better start. The ease at which social networking hounds can tweet, tag, share, stumble, digg, buzz and bookmark your content may be the difference between success and failure.

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