Two weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg invited a select few members of the media to their headquarters to ‘come see what we’re building.’ Speculation ran rampant, as the tech-world scratched its head trying to figure out what Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) could possibly be up to.
Last week, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) finally unveiled the curtain. The name of the project behind its biggest secret is called Graph Search.
Graph Search is essentially a way that users can utilize the nearly one trillion friend connections to search for various information. The search feature will be broken down into four main areas (with a potential example given for each):
- Photos – find which pictures of you that are posted are most liked by your friends
- Interests – search for the movies that your friends like the most
- People – find friends, or friends-of-friends, that are single and live in a certain area
- Places – find local places of interest that have recently been checked into by your friends
Why this is a huge deal
Let’s skip past the details and jump to the chase of why this search feature matters so much. Social media has something very important that is envied by all businesses on the planet. Trust.
Companies are constantly trying, in any way possible, to establish trust with their customers. They build loyalty programs that give us free flights or cash back in exchange for using their credit cards. They monitor our buying behavior to give us coupons for groceries that we’ve been buying. They establish memberships to build camaraderie and make us feel like we’re part of an elite group. They’ll do anything they can to build trust, because once consumers trust a business, we keep coming back. And then we start to recommend you to our friends.
In social media, trust is embedded in the friend connections. Would you rather trust a new restaurant that you see on TV or one that comes recommended by your friends? After all, why would your friends steer you wrong?
Initially, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) had huge implications that was focused on businesses. Companies hired social media teams and set up Facebook pages so that they could be ‘liked’ by friends. This built credibility and was tremendous marketing that has an excellent return on a somewhat inexpensive investment.
But now, there’s a whole new Pandora’s box that’s being opened. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) search brings the trust aspect into multiple new potential pathways. Dating. Recruiting. Photos. You name it. It basically allows you to put your entire life up on their site and then search through it for anything you want to find. It’s not just about recommending businesses any more.