Today Facebook presented, after a lot of buzz on the internet, as its new feature a “like based search engine”. Regarding the ranking method there is nothing really new, as we see something similar with the G+ button on Google, but here we have as value the “like” that everyone does on pages or groups.
The search itself is divided in two different aspects, a Semantic Search where every user would be able to write a simple phrase and get the best result about their Social Networks, and a Search partnership with “Bing” where the user would be able to search for information outside Facebook, as can be seen from the following video by The Verge.
This new feature strategically provides Facebook the possibility to generate more revenue, in two different (but similar) ways:
- Time on the Social Network: This feature is mainly done to maintain the user active and for a longer time on Facebook. Time and user actions for Facebook, means “page views” that mean “ad impressions” for Facebook. Resulting in a bigger and potential revenue.
- Partnership Revenue: The partnership with Bing is an important win-win possibility, because Bing get more visibility, and very probably Facebook get a share of the ads clicked by the users during their search.
In other words and as expressed in the scheme below, Facebook is slowly creating an environment where users doesn’t have any excuse to exit the Social Network to make their activities, they can search what they want and stay connected with their friends at the same time. More an user stays on the Social and generate actions, more chances of revenue Facebook has.
Even is I hadn’t the possibility to test it on first hand, there are some considerations that in my opinion are important for the success of this feature (to clear on the short-mid term):
- Marketing Implementation: Marketing pros are expecting from some time new ways to leverage and generate revenue from Facebook, that was something that its needed. Probably this feature will provide the possibility to make you sponsor the result on specific user queries, but why not giving the opportunity to pay to suggest specific queries?
- Privacy: As can be seen on the video every user data can be used to fulfill the query results. This brings a privacy concern, where everyone would be able to cross my “likes” within a query, but the users would be able to choose to be excluded on the query or results?