Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) launched its Graph Search in beta on Tuesday, and this morning analysts are weighing in on the implications for the new feature. It allows users to search for other users on the site based on their connections with groups and friends on the site.
Facebook’s new Graph Search feature does appear to have several uses. Users can search for those who share their interests, which could make it possible for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) to step into the online dating arena. Product Director Tom Stocky mentioned online data in yesterday’s press event. He suggested searches like “friends of my friends who are female, like “Homeland” and are single.” The new search feature could also help with recruitment and job searches and help with finding photos or places of interest.
Thus far there isn’t a direct way to monetize the new feature, although analysts at Deutsche Bank see it as “highly relevant to local search” and say that it will likely increase the strength of connections while increasing the importance of “fan and like acquisitions.” The analysts see the new feature as “iterative, but not transformational” for the company. The most important value they see of this new feature is the positive effect it could have on user engagement, especially in mobile applications.
Deutsche Bank analysts said Graph Search will likely make it easier to find content and organize groups while making messaging more seamless. In their report issued to investors this morning, they said the challenge for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) in taking on search is likely to be scale. They estimate that only about 15 to 20 percent of the 1 billion daily searches on the site are non-person searches, with only a fraction having “commercial intent.”
They also noted that if Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) makes it more difficult to big advertisers to “achieve the volumes necessary to warrant meaningful budget allocation.” However they say it probably is strongly relevant for small local businesses and for content and apps. They also said they don’t see the company trying to run searches outside of its site, so they don’t believe Facebook’s new search feature will be a major risk to Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG).
Shares of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) were up .56 percent in pre-market trades as the stock began to erase some of yesterday’s small loss after the company’s media event.