4 Companies that Facebook’s Graph Search could potentially disrupt

The social network officially launched its Graph Search function for its users in the U.S,  here are some of the companies and services it could potentially compete with.

With the roll out of its Graph Search feature, Facebook has added another core component to its platform, along with Newsfeed and Timeline.

The way Graph Search works is by allowing you to personalize your searches in plain language. For e.g. if you wanted to look for “friends who like Radiohead” you could type that in and Facebook will find all friends who “like” Radiohead and list them. You can even be more specific with “friends who like Radiohead who live in San Francisco,” if you wanted to find like-minded individuals to go to a concert with you or buy a group deal. By having the ability to query such specific search terms, Graph search could be a powerful tool. Here are some of the businesses it could potentially threaten, to varying degrees.

Yelp

The search and review site is the most likely service to be threatened by Graph Search. Recommendations are a powerful thing on the internet and the company was built on them, but what’s even more powerful than a regular recommendation is the recommendation of a friend. With Graph Search, you could type “restaurants in New York my friends like”  or even more specific “friends who have visited the Olive Garden in Times Square” and Graph Search could mine tagging results to give you a list of friends who you can message individually. With such specific search options and results coming from people you know and trust, it would definitely pose a threat to Yelp.

It’s not just about looking for recommendations either, people also enjoy being the ones who recommend things. As Ryan Tate writes in Wired:

It was hard to get this motivated to put information into Facebook when the data was used primarily to help target advertisements and thus to enrich CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook shareholders. But now that Facebook lets my friends mine the data in ways long available to advertisers, I’m itching to share more freely. My “like” or check-in or photo might actually help a friend or friend of a friend decide where to eat, what to read, or what city to vacation in. In that scenario, I’m not only helping my friend, I’m also helping the businesses, groups, people, and locations I showcase.

Match.com and other dating sites

Even when you’re not online, the best way to meet a potential significant other is usually through a friends introduction.  With Facebook, you can really streamline that process, by searching for friends of friends who are single in your area and then capitalizing on the connection. Taylor Hatmaker writes in ReadWrite: 

With Graph Search, you can query the social network for phrases like “friends of my friends who are female, like “Homeland” and are single” and get a custom-built singles search culled right from your own social graph. And since Facebook commands a pool of data as deep as it is wide, it has a lot of dirt on its one billion users – from the stuff they Like to the people they hang out with to their core demographic information like location, age, gender and sexual orientation.

LinkedIn 

Similiar to finding a dating match, Graph Search could also function as a tool for both recruiters and job seekers. Since the job search world is so heavily in favor of those who have connections, there’s no better place to start than Facebook, with its built in network.  

Google

This seems the least plausible, since Google’s search capabilities extend far, far outside Facebook’s, which is more of a walled city. For regular, non-human connection searches, Google will always come out on top. However Facebook will glean valuable data from the kinds of queries people will be putting into Graph Search, something that could make it attractive to advertisers. It also partnered with Bing to power its web search capabilities and this could extend its reach into the search world. But for now, its still small potatoes. 

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