In its much publicised news conference last night, Facebook officially confirmed that it will be launching its own search engine.

Called Graph Search, the engine will offer a more natural way of searching content on the social networking site.

However, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, was quick to emphasise that Graph Search is not a direct web search and therefore is not a rival to Google’s own search engine.

Explaining the decision to launch Graph Search, Zuckerburg, said: “We’re indexing our map of the graph – the graph is really big and its constantly changing.”

He added that the firm thought of Facebook as a big social database, and that the social search would form a third pillar alongside its news feed and timeline.

Last week, the Internet giant had invited press to the conference with a cryptic message that simply read ‘come and see what we are building’.

Rumours of a proposed search engine launch were quick to resurface, as well as rumours of a Facebook phone – something Zuckerberg has always shied away from.

While the search could be as simple as finding other friends in your list that are fans of a particular TV show, or finding a restaurant that your friends have been to: for Internet marketing purposes, the new search engine will potentially allow firms to do head hunting, finding candidates with a particular skill set or experience needed for a position.

Therefore, the new search engine is actually more likely to rival the likes of LinkedIn as a professional social networking site,  than Google as a standalone search tool.

LinkedIn, which recently announced it had reached the 200 million member milestone, has long been popular with people using the platform for business purposes.

Currently in beta, Facebook said it will roll out Graph Search to the public very slowly.

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