One of the things that is the strangest to me about following tech news these days is that it’s awfully darn hard to keep track of who is rivals with whom. The basic reason for this is that all the new technologies: portable devices, search, operating systems, advertising, and online retails are all interconnected. In the old days it seemed like the rivalries were pretty distinct: Apple vs. Microsoft for OS was more or less totally distinct from AMD vs. Intel for microprocessors.
These days none of that applies. One day Apple and Amazon are rivals (iPad vs. Kindle Fire) on hardware and the next it’s Google vs. Microsoft (with Bing, Microsoft’s entry into search), but in between it’s also Google vs. Apple. In a word: it’s one great big free-for-all and the prize is information about you and me.
So here comes the newest entrant into this melee: Facebook is taking on Google in search. It might not seem like an obvious battle at first, but an article at SearchEngineLand.com goes into the advantages Facebook has over Google (and, along the way, sheds new light on the launch of Google’s ill-timed G+ competitor to Facebook). The give the following kinds of searches that will be easy to do in Facebook, but virtually impossible in Google:
- Restaurants run by employees of a particular cooking school
- Pictures by friends who live in London
- Friends who are friends with people who work for a particular company, say all the people at Facebook who know people who work at Apple
- Product managers who have turned into company founders
- Movies that your friends like
Even if the search wars don’t really get a new front, this is just one application of Facebook’s announcement that they are going to make their information available via Graph Search. At a minimum, you should finally be able to search easily for all photos you ever liked. That’s actually pretty awesome for me as a writer, because I’ve got well over 150,000 words on Facebook and a lot of the time it’s clear, focused writing that I’d love to find and then turn into articles, but it’s basically impossible for me to find anything I’ve written more than a couple of weeks ago.
If you’re interested in some more background on Graph Search announcement, Slashdot has an initial rundown.