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January 18, 2013

Facebook launches new search tool

Facebook has launched a new way for its users to search, navigate and make connections – Graph Search.

Graph Search will appear as a search bar at the top of each page. When users search, a page with the title of the search will be created in order to provide a customised view of shared content on Facebook.

It's very different from a normal web search, says Facebook. Graph Search involves looking for connections using phrases, such as "restaurants in London my friends have visited". And it promises to respect privacy – users can only see what they could already view elsewhere on Facebook.

Still at the beta stage, Graph Search currently focuses on four main areas – people, photos, places, and interests. It looks set to deliver benefits to businesses on Facebook, helping to highlight brands that Facebook users like.

Commenting on the launch, Andreas Pouros, chief operating officer of digital marketing agency Greenlight, said: "Businesses are likely to become more visible within Facebook given that many of these searches will bring up their pages in Graph Search results. However, this may simply offset the reduction in visibility brands have experienced due to Facebook's Promoted Posts mechanism that has limited the exposure of brand posts on user newsfeeds."

The launch comes at a time when new research suggests that the popularity of Facebook among businesses could be dwindling. A study by EML Wildfire that has analysed the social media activity of the Deloitte Fast Tech 50 reveals that only 83% of B2C companies use Facebook today, compared to 100% in 2010 and 2011.

Other key results of the survey are:

  • LinkedIn remains the most popular amongst tech companies (98%), followed by Twitter (82%).
  • Google+ is struggling for popularity amongst tech brands. Whilst 42% of the companies have Google+ accounts (a figure comparable to Facebook six years after launch), 57% of these were no longer active.

You can find out more about what Facebook Graph Search means for business on IT Donut.