Facebook’s Third Pillar: Graph Search



Ex Googlers helped Facebook to launch Graph Search.  Graph Search got its start in the spring of 2011, when Zuckerberg asked Lars Rasmussen to join him on a walk. Rasmussen, 44, had joined Facebook the previous year, an eyebrow-raising defector from Google.   Rasmussen got a co-leader for his product: another former Googler named Tom Stocky, an MIT grad who had worked on various teams since joining Google in 2005. Continue reading…


%37 of the time online in 2011 spend in social networks

Each year consumers spend more time and more money online. The web is becoming completely integrated into our lives. Social connections are being made, conversations with companies taking place, relationships nurtured, whole wardrobes collected, news consumed and holidays are planned using the web. This adoption and widespread use of the web in all parts of our lives results in more fragmented online consumer behavior. This makes it increasingly harder to provide an objective overview of the online behavior of consumers.

To give detailed insights into the online behavior of consumers in a mature digital market we tracked the digital lives of more than 10.000 Dutch Consumers using our proprietary audience measurement technology. And here’s a short overview of some of the findings.

The Big Three dominate

Consumers spent approx. 60% of their time on The Big Three, which consist out of Social Networks, E-mail, and Search. This is followed by the trio of Shopping, News and Games. When looking at the total amount of visits per category we see a rearrangement of the Big Three and a more evenly distributed playing field. Search is most frequently visited (18,2%), followed by E-mail (11,8) and Social Networks (11,4%). Looking at the consumers behavior this is very logical. People tend to search quite frequently, but quickly. Social networks, however, have a different footprint. The volume is a bit lower, but consumers spend high amounts of time on them.

More time spend on Facebook than any other social network

What will come to know surprise to all of us is that Facebook is the nr. 1 social network in The Netherlands. It should be noted however that this is only since halfway 2011. Before that a popular local social network, Hyves, was in control. When looking at engagement (time on site, avg. pageviews per visit) it clearly shows that Facebook is in the lead. A quite interesting finding is that people, even though it just recently launched, spend more time per visit on Google+ compared to Twitter. The bite-sized content of Twitter definitely contributes to this. Another fascinating insight is that women are more engaged with social networks compared to men. More women spend more time on site and view more pages per visit compared to their male counterparts.
Google absent in Social, but dominates Search

After the initial introduction of Google+ there was a huge spike in traffic. However after the big rise, there was a great drop off and traffic reached a mere 2% penetration in our panel. Also when looking at the characteristics of the visits it clearly doesn’t the levels of engagement other platforms are providing.

What Google lack in social, it makes up in Search. Google absolutely dominates the search market in The Netherlands. It accounts for 95,8% of the search volume. Other competitors are near non-existing. Bing follows as a very distant with share of 2,4%, Ask.com 1,6% and Yahoo comes in forth with a meager 0,2%. The adoption of the additional services of Google (e.g. Maps, Mail) shows a classic long tail. While Maps and Mail are often visited during the week, the other services (Docs, News, Calendar, Video, Plus) lack any real traction.
Implications for Research in the Mobile World

This report tells about 90% of the story. And this will only steadily decrease in the near future. Why? Of course because the continuous rise of mobile usage by consumers. As outlined in the introduction this perfectly fits into the information snacking behavior consumers nowadays display. Moving back and forth between devices during different stages of the buying process.

The most important implication for research would be that we must move to an integrated multi-channel research approach. Not focussing on separate devices but on integrated multi-channel customer behavior. The consumer moves freely, quickly and seamlessly on multiple devices through cyberspace. They’re no longer bounded to specific platform for his or her journey. We shouldn’t be either in research.

About the study

These insights are part of a more extensive report (available for free in PDF format) called ‘State of the Web’. This elaborates on the behavior of consumers in specific categories such as Social Networks, Search, and Shopping. With our unique passive audience measurement technology we tracked the digital lives in 2011 of a representative panel which consists of approx. 10.000 Dutch consumers. We collected tens of gigabytes of data, which was used as input for the report.

Facebook- Google Battle Round 2 : Facebook Is Building a Search Engine


I’m not surprised that Facebook is building its own search engine. Search could be much improved with social signals. And search is one of the places Facebook users spend most of their online time away from FB.  Google needs to keep an eye on this!

Is Facebook building a Google rival — one that would use your location and your friends’ tastes?

A team of more than 20 Facebook engineers — led by a former Google programmer — is at work on a vastly improved search engine within the site, according a Businessweek report.

The idea, according to two sources, is to take better advantage of the heaps of content Facebook users create on — and off — the site every day. With people sharing status updates and supporting brand pages on the network, as well as using Facebook’s “Like” button to mark articles and videos from external sites, there is certainly a lot to take advantage of.

Mashable contacted Facebook for more information and got this response from a company spokesperson: “We don’t comment on rumors and speculation around products.”

Google has boosted its presence in the social space recently, opening the Google+ network last fall and a “Search, Plus Your World” feature to tepid response earlier this year. So it’s interesting to see Facebook potentially make a stronger move into the search world.

A large-scale shift to a “semantic web,” where online data is is able to be delivered in more nuanced and complex ways, is gaining momentum among tech futurists. Wikipedia recently announced a project called Wikidata that aims to make its content smarter by cross-updating among Wikipedia pages when they are edited. A more robust Facebook search functionality would be another step toward that semantic web.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has consistently downplayed the level of direct competition between Facebook and Google. “I don’t think that this is going to be the type of situation when one company wins all this stuff,” he told Charlie Rose of PBS last fall.

If the Businessweek report is true, however, it will add yet another area of heightened competitive overlap between the two Silicon Valley giants.