Facebook’s Graph Search is a revolutionary new form of searching and finding information about ourselves, friends and the world.
The problem is it’s too much work.
Many have come away from trying Facebook’s new take on search unimpressed. They wonder how they’ll ever use it in their daily life. They don’t get satisfactory results when they do try a query.
This is largely because Graph Search puts the onus on users to ask clever questions if they want to get better answers. To a degree this is true with any search engine: using certain keywords and operators will help narrow down the results to be more relevant. But for most queries, users can find what they’re looking for even without advanced search features. With Graph Search, the value of the product is hardly apparent until users add more qualifiers, like the specific audience they want to search among or content type they’re looking for.
Google doesn’t require people to search for “highest ranked website about the NFL” or “article about the sequester by popular news sites.” Someone can type “NFL” or “sequester” and likely find what they want.
Now, Graph Search isn’t positioned as a replacement for Google. As CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the product launch, web search is about asking open-ended queries to return links that might have the answer to a question you might have. Graph Search is about precise queries and exact matches.
But in effect, this means users must come up with their own algorithms for what they’re looking for, whether it’s “movies my friends like,” “movies my friends of friends like,” “movies liked by people who like movies I like” or “movies liked by NYU Film students.” That can be difficult for people who don’t naturally think in precise queries.