Facebook Search Critics Are Focused On The Short-Term

After declaring Facebook’s search war with Google yesterday, many Google fans were quick to point out the lack of a basis for such a claim. Part of their argument is accurate, Greg Sterling argues that, “In general the search user experience on Facebook is ambiguous and cluttered.” That may be correct (although subjective) but just because Facebook doesn’t function like a search behemoth today doesn’t mean it will never be one.

Right now there are plenty of unanswered questions. One of the most important is: do Facebook users use the site as a search engine? While users most definitely search for other people, they don’t use Facebook as a tool to search for the answers to their questions. Becoming a search engine that competes with Google will require a change of user behavior.

This is a challenging task but not impossible, and considering that Facebook has demonstrated a willingness to change their product and user behavior in the past, it shouldn’t be surprising for that to happen again. Additionally, I should point out that the sensational post title used yesterday was simply used as a tool for gaining traction. Unfortunately our attempt to do so earlier this week failed, as it had a less dramatic title of, “Facebook Tests Show SEO May Be Possible With Open Graph“.

In the grand scheme of things, Facebook has a long way to go in search. However to ignore the company’s latest actions to push out the Open Graph as the basis of their search strategy would be foolish. Facebook is rapidly moving toward becoming the largest internet site in the world. Google didn’t attempt to buy the company years back for no reason. Google also isn’t pushing out new social and semantic features for no reason at all.

Facebook will be a significant threat to Google and while Google may still be the leader in search, Facebook will rapidly gain traction.

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