This Week In Social: Facebook Search Graph, Bing Revamps Social Search, Twitter Nifty Feature

By Rob McNair

Facebook Search Graph: Good, Bad Or Ugly?

Unless you’ve been living on Google+ for the past 48 hours, which I somehow doubt, you’ll know Facebook have launched a new service called Search Graph. Initially thought to be the first search challenger to Google, it’s arrived in much different format, although some may argue that it’s replacing what Google+ was launched for.

With Facebook Graph Search, the objects we search for aren’t web page but instead virtual representation of real world objects and recommendations. Therefore, there’s no surprise that the primary connections are likes, similar to links of Google. To give you some more instances on how Facebook Search Graph will work, here’s the four main areas, people, photos, places, and interests.

People: “friends who live in my city,” “people from my hometown who like hiking,” “friends of friends who have been to Yosemite National Park,” “software engineers who live in San Francisco and like skiing,” “people who like things I like,” “people who like tennis and live nearby”

Photos: “photos I like,” “photos of my family,” “photos of my friends before 1999,” “photos of my friends taken in New York,” “photos of the Eiffel Tower”

Places: “restaurants in San Francisco,” “cities visited by my family,” “Indian restaurants liked by my friends from India,” “tourist attractions in Italy visited by my friends,” “restaurants in New York liked by chefs,” “countries my friends have visited”

Interests: “music my friends like,” “movies liked by people who like movies I like,” “languages my friends speak,” “strategy games played by friends of my friends,” “movies liked by people who are film directors,” “books read by CEOs”

Currently in limited beta function, the feature allows you to essential search Facebook for things centered around four focus areas: People, Places, Photos and Interests. The searches will unearth information about your friends, as well as public information on Facebook as a whole. It’s not yet confirmed how Facebook will be monetize this side of the business but it could lead to some exciting changes to their ad platform. Watch the video below for a deeper understanding of how privacy works with Graph Search.

Facebook Charging $100 To Message Zuckerberg

Fancy sending Mark a personal message that’ll reach his main inbox? You now can… for $100. The charge was designed by Facebook to both raise some revenue and reduce spam. In order to reach VIPs (similar to myself), who are not friends, including Mr Zuckerberg, Facebook are running this $100 test only in the United States.

The VIPs that are part of the test receive only one message from a stranger to their main inbox each week with a red notification. Facebook has not confirmed how many public figures are involved, but said it had set a threshold of numbers of followers to decide who to include. If you choose not to pay the $100 fee you can still send a message, but will be directed to their ‘other’ inbox. This mailbox is rarely checked, however, and for most members serves as no more than the equivalent of a spam folder.

Bing Revamps Social Search With More Facebook Features.

Microsoft has announced a major overhaul of their search results within Bing. As you know Facebook is now integrating Bing deeper into its search tools, along with Microsoft adding more Facebook content to Bing. In total, Microsoft says, “five times more of your friends’ content on Facebook is now searchable in the sidebar.” Photos that previously appeared are now accompanied by status updates, shared links and comments from your friends.

“For every query, there is at least one person with the right answer,” Microsoft says. Whenever its algorithms now detect a query where a Facebook comment or shared link could be useful, it will surface this in the sidebar, making the content there a lot more interesting than in previous iterations. This, says Microsoft, means it is now “easier to see who knows and what they’ve shared related to your search.” Along with these Facebook search results, Bing will also continue to highlight content from Twitter, Quora, foursquare and other social networks. Facebook highlighted the they’d love to work with Google at some point but had issues with their privacy policy.

Video: Bing Social Updates Arrive Today: For Every Search, There is Someone Who Can Help

Twitter Now Lets You Know When You’ve Typed Something Clickable Or Went Over Character Limit.

A new nifty addition to the Twitter site. When you start constructing a tweet the text will change colours (to blue) when you’ve added something clickable, such as a username or link. Similarly the text will change colour if you’ve gone over 140 characters, in red, showing you exactly which ones have to go.

This new feature will allow everyone who wants to tweet using “@” sign for other purposes, letting them know that they’re about to mention someone unknowingly. This is something that happens often, after finding out myself while I claimed the @tm username. Users would ‘abbreviate’ this as ‘at the moment’ but unfortunately I’d  be tagged into their meaningless tweet.

Will TweetDeck Get Shutdown?

TweetDeck a subsidiary of Twitter, did not file any accounts in September 2012, or again in December, despite being warned and find on both occasions. The company was reported to be on track to claim a £150 million by the end of 2011 from advertising, making it a great acquisition for the micro-blogging service.

Limited companies must file accounts with the UK registrar of companies, Company House, on an annual basis. The registrar then shares details with HM revenue & Customs to calculate future checks and proceedings. Although there has been no tax breach, the company has not filed any accounts since mid-2011. Twitter UK also failed to meet the deadline, but shortly after filed an abbreviated version, which revealed a profit of just £16,500 on a total of £428,723. No doubt here that Twitter are doing the same as many global companies reporting small profits in the UK for tax purposes. Twitter Inc. has recently been estimated at being worth £6.8 million by financial analyst Greencrest.

The company has 99 days to comply, it is subject to a £1,500 fine and could potentially be prosecuted for its string of failures. Failing to file accounts is a criminal offence, and both the company and directors would be subject to prosecution.

Facebook Tweaking Privacy Policy So Users Can’t Opt Out Of Search Results.

As we’ve said above, Facebook has a lot riding on Graph search. The search engine isn’t just about finding new ways to connect users with information’s, it’s about a next generation advertising products that helps understand a users habits, and will allow Facebook to woo even more clients with better class of targeted ads.

Facebook has begun making moves to ensure that the new search product covers as many as users as possible – a move that will likely spark a new round of Facebook rage. As spotted by Quartz, Facebook recently made changes to their privacy policy on December 11 to the following:

‘When you hide things on your timeline, like posts or connections, it means those things will not appear on your timeline. But, remember, anyone in the audience of those posts or who can see a connection may still see it elsewhere, like on someone else’s timeline or in search results. You can also delete or change the audience of content you post.’

The change wouldn’t be noticed by many users as only a single digit percentage of users opted out of have their content appear in search results. Although at this time no one knew the future of Facebook’s advertising business. Will the Facebook rage increase even more? 

This post was written by Rob McNair

Rob has experience advising some of the worlds most iconic brands. He thrives on helping improving social media knowledge within organisations with the ultimate goal of making theirs brands more social, transparent and accountable.