/// How Facebook Will Succeed in Search

January 18, 2013  |  All Things Digital


In August 2011, I went out on a limb about Facebook’s strategy for search. Search is a feature every Web user needs — and by knowing its users so well, Facebook has some incredible and unique ways to change the game. But at the same time, it would be a losing proposition for Facebook to compete head-to-head with Google. Still: I predicted Facebook will enter search by the end of 2012. As the news bore out on January 15, 2013, I was off by two weeks. As close as that timing was, when it comes to how they will enter, I was dead right: Rather than going head-to-head with Google, I said it would focus exclusively on where your graph is far more valuable than even the best redux of the entire web. But now that it has announced its beta launch, the question is, what does it need to do to get it right? Here are five important things Facebook should keep in mind in order to succeed in search: Keep expectations low. If there’s one thing Facebook hopefully learned from its IPO, it’s that it’s far better to set expectations low and exceed them than to sell high and disappoint. Any user who types a day’s worth of typical web searches into Graph Search is going to walk away with one conclusion: Facebook’s new product is terrible at most of the things that Google has taken 15 years to be great at. Users who have a bad experience rarely give you a second chance. Meet users where they are. One huge red flag is Facebook’s bent to “diseducate” users from their “bad search habits.” Oh, the attitude of it! But worse than attitude, it’s a bad recipe. Consumer products and Web services have taken off by presenting people with experiences they love, and offering an interface that they like and naturally adapt to. Facebook needs to adapt to its users’ searches, not the other way around. Reopen Open Graph. Back in September 2011, Facebook came out guns blazing, ready to work with the rest of the Web to fill in the graph with more user information, connections, and actions. At the time, the promise was that websites and publishers who connected to the graph would give Facebook great information, and get Facebook viral traffic love in exchange

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How Facebook Will Succeed in Search



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