The internet was ripe with rumor a plenty since the announcement from Facebook last week for the media to “Come see what we are building”. The invitation created quite a stir in the industry with everything from the Facebook mobile to a new web interface appearing as rumor and speculation.
Mark Zuckerberg today announced a new product called “Graph Search” which has already been touted as another step in the fierce duel between Facebook and Google.
Graph search, which Mark assures us all is privacy aware, allows you to search your social connections for any number of things from Photos in a particular location to Check-in’s at a venue containing selected friends. The new Facebook addition basically allows you to easily “Data mine” your social connections to view anything from matching interests to opinions in a particular venue or product.
So why hasn’t Facebook improved its search before now?
The problem with sites like Facebook is an issue called “Big Data”. For example, from previous glimpses into Facebook’s architecture we know that every bit of your data they get is stored 3 times in their data centers (also known as triple redundancy), that means they store 1 status update 3 times. Times that by a billion users and you have “Big Data”.
To put it into a larger context as of 2012 the internet on a whole is producing 2.5 quintillion (2.5×1018) bytes of data a day and it has to be not only stored somewhere in most cases it has to be searched and used in any number of user applications.
What the new Graph Search means for business is yet to be seen with no API (data interface access) currently available, however this would open up a very powerful tool that could achieve insite and analytics into a Brand or Products performance.
It could be a case of “try before you buy” with third party applications having to pay to get access to a unrestricted version of the Search in the Future. This would allow a Brand to be able to track and monitor product trends and brand sentiment for a monthly fee.