Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg introduces a new feature
to the world's most popular social medium. Photo by
Investors are likely to regard the launch of Facebook's
Graph Search as ''too little progress'' in the highly lucrative
market of web search, Greenlight chief operating officer
Andreas Pouros says.
The function will be available at first only as ''beta'', or
trial, for just hundreds of thousands of its more than one
billion users. It will let users browse mainly photographs,
people, places and members' interests. Facebook founder Mark
Zuckerberg stressed that people could only sort through
content shared with them, addressing potential privacy
In an email to the Otago Daily Times, Mr Pouros said
the new smart search engine would allow people using Facebook
to more quickly find answers to questions about friends in
their ''social graph''.
But he described the announcement by Mr Zuckerberg yesterday
as a story of ''three halves''.
''On one hand, users will be happy to get this new
functionality that Facebook is calling `Graph Search'. It is
innovative and powerful and will allow people to search
within Facebook, albeit restricted to what they can see and
read right now.''
It allowed the user to search for people, places and
interests using structured queries such as ''Friends who like
Star Wars and Harry Potter'', or more usefully ask ''Which
restaurants do my friends like in London'', Mr Pouros said.
Greenlight is a digital marketing agency based in London.
Ordinarily, the user would ask that question by posting it on
their wall. Now, the tools were there to allow the user to
''Innovative, very cool and the first major addition of
functionality Facebook has seen since Timeline.''
However, Mr Pouros said the announcement was unlikely to be
enough to allay investor concerns over Facebook's commercial
Many had expected Facebook would have launched a new mobile
phone or thrown down the gauntlet to Google and challenged
the company in web search supremacy; neither of which
''Web search is a touchy subject.
''As everyone knows, it is a hugely lucrative market and one
Facebook was expected to enter. Graph Search may well be a
precursor to that but I fear investors will suspect that it's
too little progress,'' he said.
Somewhere in the middle, businesses were likely to become
more visible within Facebook, given that many of those
searches would bring up their pages in search results. But
that might simply offset the reduction in visibility brands
had experienced due to Facebook's ''promoted posts''
mechanism that limited the exposure of brand posts on user
newsfeeds where businesses were prompted to pay for their
post to reach a wider audience. Also, it was unclear if or
how Facebook would make money from Graph Search, Mr Pouros
Facebook shares, which had climbed 15% since the start of the
year, slid 3% yesterday to just above $US30 ($NZ35.70).
Analysts said the product news fell short of some of the most