Quora Users Debate Facebook Search’s Impact on Search and Recommendation Services

By Cameron Scott 

social networks, social search, social media, local search, recommendations, facebook, graph searchAs social search and recommendations company share prices fell due to concerns that Facebook’s Graph Search, launched last week, would crush them and eat into Google’s search dominance, users on Quora engaged in a debate about the likely effects Facebook’s search will have.

“If I were working at one of the other companies I’d be spending a lot of time thinking about how we would counter the threat of a Facebook search/discovery system. The others have time, but not much,” said Rackspace’s public tech evangelizer Robert Scoble.

Scoble thought users would value getting advice from friends.

But social recommendations have limited utility, even on the most robust social network.

“I know no one in Buenos Aires. If I’m going to visit there, how do I find a great restaurant from FB graph search if there are no results among my FB friends?” mused Richard Davis.

Google and Yelp are far less likely to turn up weak results, users said.

“It is more likely Google and others win over Facebook, as they have better systems [for] purifying mass opinion data, filtering any spam opinion sources,” said Sagar Manikpure, the head of business development at Adiquity.

While the idea of a trusted recommendation remains a much sought-after ideal in search, few have offered a way for users to discover experts to whom they aren’t connected socially.

“The real question even Facebook hasn’t really dealt with is: How can you find someone you could (in-directly) trust, even though you (as well as your friends or trustees) do not know them?” Manikpure said.

For now, users will likely use Graph Search in addition to other types of search, the Quora users concluded, leaving their longer-term loyalties are potentially up for grabs.

“There is no doubt that Facebook graph search will substitute for some of our needs currently met by Google, Yelp, LinkedIn etc. The extent of this substitution will decide the extent of threat to these players. Graph search is a significant step to several significant possibilities … more long term than immediate,” Manikpure wrote.