Created in 2004, Facebook is an online social network. The site therefore aims by definition to put Internet users in contact regardless of their place of residence. A possibility of interaction that has been widely acclaimed by Internet users since Facebook today has 1.86 billion active users each month. The basic use of Facebook is therefore far from the objective of Google. The purpose of the search engine is indeed to respond to a specific user request and not putting him in touch with other people. It is therefore easy to oppose the aim of entertainment and social and personal information of Facebook against the objective of responding to requests from Google …
With its new search engine, Facebook seeks to compete with Google in its main function. The social network had already managed to reduce the importance of forums on the search engine thanks to the possibility of creating thematic groups on the network. Facebook recently attacked the very essence of Google: answering queries and finding information.
One objective: to meet user demand
With its new search engine, Facebook is gradually moving its objective. Facebook’s first steps were taken from the very closed perspective of connecting Internet users around the world. The social network then widened its horizon by developing the possibility for companies to register on Facebook and gain visibility with users. The network is no longer reserved for ordinary individuals. So far however, Facebook’s main goal was entertainment, contact, dissemination of personal information, etc.
Today, the social network aims higher and radically changes its functioning. Facebook seeks to make its search bar the center of attention and an essential tool for Internet users. Users just need to type their request in the search bar to find the most relevant results on Facebook.
The results were categorized by Facebook and are naturally ranked in order of relevance. Among the categories offered, we can cite pages, places, publications, people and groups. Once the search keywords are identified in the title of a page or in a public publication, Facebook is able to display it as a response to a query by the user. An interesting proposition that allows the user to use Facebook as a full-fledged search engine.
A device that transforms consumer habits
Facebook positions itself differently from Google. We cannot say that Facebook is as complete a search engine as Google since the social network must preserve its social dimension and interaction between Internet users. Facebook is therefore at the forefront in the field of proximity searches. Many Internet users search for addresses of restaurants, plumbers or other services on a daily basis. Thanks to the presence of many companies on Facebook, the social network is now able to list a good number of addresses likely to interest the consumer.
Thanks to a fluid and intuitive interface, Facebook makes company information available to consumers. In this way, the potential customer has a large choice of establishments corresponding to their search in just one click. He can then find out about the quality of the company by taking into account the opinions, directly access his website or even book directly or call the company. Facebook’s search engine is therefore positioned as a purchasing facilitator and conveys more information about companies.
Facebook could well become an essential search engine for all users when it comes to finding specific services or in terms of targeted queries. A great time saver for consumers who directly access company information or the information they are looking for while taking into account its popularity.
What change for companies?
If Facebook is very well known among individuals, it is still little used by companies. With the advent of this new search engine, companies will have an interest in developing their communication strategy on the social network. Facebook’s will is clear: reproduce Google’s search tool to generate more traffic on the social network and ultimately reap the benefits of this increased activity.
Facebook therefore encourages companies to create their page and for that, nothing better than creating demand. Facebook’s reasoning therefore consists in encourage internet users to do their research on the social network and then demonstrate to businesses that there is real potential on the social network in terms of visibility and activity on the company’s website. Companies will have to redouble their tricks to ensure a relevant strategy on the social network and position themselves in the top of research. A new era for SEO is underway, far from natural referencing and traditional Google Adwords campaigns.
While most companies have limited themselves to creating a Google My Business account and managing their company’s SEO, there is a new possibility of attracting customers. Until now little known, Facebook could become the new essential tool for companies in prospecting and their communication strategy.
A system that remains primitive
Sometimes irrelevant results
We notice for example differences in results from one account to another. While a user finds a specific page as the first result, another user may be faced with a completely different result. Are the results sorted at random or is the user already targeted in order to select the results likely to interest him? Unable to distinguish where Facebook’s strategy is hidden or if it’s a somewhat haphazard system, a beta version of what should be the final service.
The new Facebook search engine is somewhat similar to the old Google system. While Google already has countless years of experience and perfecting its algorithms to improve the relevance of results, Facebook takes its first steps in the field. Obviously, Facebook seeks above all to make the search results of the user as relevant as possible, but the “Facebook Suggests” are still not very relevant to what one could find on Google.
Facebook is currently showing results only based on the keyword registered by the user. The result depends only on the search and first displays the pages and publications that generate the most activity. The relevance of the page is then based on its popularity : the number of likes obtained, the number of shares, the rating left by users and the frequency of activity.
Facebook therefore rejects the principle of diversity that Google is working to develop. This principle obliges the search engine to display a wide variety of web pages according to the search without only taking into account the scale of the traffic and the activity of the page. So in Google results, the search engine will display the most relevant sites first by content without necessarily taking into account the popularity of the site compared to others.
A function that Facebook does not yet apply in its own research and which will certainly push companies to include a maximum of keywords in their description and title to position themselves at the top of the result.
A system that remains very primitive in its way of operating and defining the relevance of the results. It goes without saying that Facebook will gradually and regularly make changes to this search engine to improve the relevance of the results.
An open door for stalking
The application of a search engine on a social network can also have harmful consequences for the privacy of Internet users. The search engine makes it possible for any user to search for activities marked as public by a person and even target the source of a publication. Therefore, as long as the search keyword matches the words contained in the publication, the latter is in the best results even if the two users are not friends on the network.
The search bar gives access to the publications of complete strangers as long as they have not made their publication private or visible to a restricted circle of friends. Users are still not very vigilant about privacy on social networks. Internet users are still may be warned about the consequences that a simple publication on Facebook can have and the possibility of posting it in public can sometimes trigger an avalanche of unprecedented reactions.
Facebook search bar is a very real privacy threat and the protection of the data of each user. Internet users must be all the more vigilant about their comments, their photos and the status of their publication. The profile of an Internet user and his publications may be subject to “stalking”, spying for the purpose of harassment or to be able to use personal information for dishonest purposes.