It seems to be clearer than ever that Facebook is really making a run at Google around search. The announcement that “all Open Graph enabled web pages will show up in search when a user likes them” this new area for search abuse optimization is now becoming a reality.
Earlier this week we published about the new Facebook SEO that’s possible via the Open Graph, but now it’s clear that this is the beginning of Facebook’s internet search strategy. The race is now on for publishers to optimize their sites for Facebook’s search engine.
I can’t decide if this is a good or bad thing. I just don’t see how Facebook and bing are going to be a formidable opponent to Google. The trouble lies in the fact that anything that is based on end users opinions is ripe for abuse and manipulation. In order for search to be truly helpful in a broad stroke manner I believe that there needs to be as much objectivity in the results set as possible. Objectivity opens up more options to searchers because it allows for a wider scope of results to be considered by the engines themselves, not just the musings of the general public that, quite honestly, is just trying to be cool rather than helpful.
All Facebook continues
Under this system “link baiting” will give rise to “like baiting”, which is how Facebook determines the relevance of information. This has become a full-scale attack on Google on all fronts at this point as Facebook has officially entered the internet search market. While many of the details of the Open Graph were initially revealed at f8, it wasn’t clear what Facebook’s complete strategy would be and how big of a threat this would be to Google.
While we suggested that the like had just replaced the link, it has now become abundantly clear what Facebook’s intentions are. Facebook wants to launch the social semantic search engine as we alluded to during f8. Now that the search results are officially showing up as Facebook search results, the war has begun.
I think that before full scale war is declared you will need to see just how serious a contender Facebook will be for search. A few questions I have include: Just how many of the 500 million users Facebook claims are actual users of the service? That is important because the actual number of people that involved in the “system” of the Open Graph (those who understand what a Like button is) may create a skewed view of the world from a search perspective. If the Like button is the major determining factor of a search result showing up, I feel that is a very weak criteria for basing rankings in search.
I am really looking for opposing views here to explain how this really is a challenge to Google. I personally would never value a Facebook search result page that is based on the OpenGraph and bing results, over a Google result set. It just seems like a mash-up of two inferior ways to tell people what is important or relevant. Also, the room for this to be abused is just too great. Lastly, if Facebook handles search like it handles privacy this could be a gigantic train wreck in waiting.
Would love to hear opinions on this one. Have a great weekend.