Facebook Search Engine?

Facebook is the most popular social networking site for people to interact with their friends, share photos, update statuses, like different companies, businesses, or fan pages, and outline their interests and hobbies. Facebook is now trying to build a search engine that uses the information it collects from its users. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg recently announced at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco that his company is working on a feature that is related to a search engine, stating, “Facebook is pretty uniquely position to answer the questions people have. What sushi restaurants have my friends go to in New York in the last sixth months and liked? Or which of my friends or friends of friends work at a company that I’m interested in working at because I want to talk to them about what it’s going to be like to work there? These are questions that you could potentially do at Facebook if we built out this system that you couldn’t do anywhere else.” Why would Facebook want to include a search engine? To make even more money than they are now. If a search engine does in fact appear on Facebook, user’s “likes” will become very important. Businesses and companies that advertise on Facebook will want to encourage their fans to keep publicizing their page. Because Facebook will answer questions such as “What sushi restaurants have my friends go to in New York in the last sixth months and liked?” the potential search engine will probably draw answers from users who have liked different sushi restaurant pages and wall posts that include the restaurant. In my opinion, a search engine could benefit users. Asking a question will surface to pages that are “liked,” people that relate to the question, or maybe even ads that correspond. This will link users to answers based on the opinions of their friends, whom most they can trust and confide in. However, this is also the problem with a search engine on Facebook. Because answers would be based on the opinions of only Facebook friends, answers are prioritized and a user wouldn’t be getting a network of answers based on random opinions. Google, for example, provides pages of links that give users access to news and information from people that have varied opinions and knowledge. A Facebook search engine would be based on a user’s friends, most of whom are high school, college, and work friends. Do your friend’s likes on a car page really deem it a good investment? Sure, Facebook might be useful when someone wants to know the opinion of a good restaurant by their friends whom they can trust, but I think Google will always be the number one search engine. Because Google is able to provide answers that are most relevant to a search and not also based on the opinions and likes of friends and friends of friends, it will always have the upper hand. If Facebook wants to create a successful search engine, aligning itself with an already established one such as Google might be the best idea. Otherwise, Facebook should stick to what it does best: being a social networking site.

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