Photo by KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images
MENLO PARK, Calif. - Facebook fired a direct shot at Google and its
vast search-engine empire on Tuesday with a new search tool for users to
sift through piles of pictures, posts and places.
The new Graph
Search feature, which will be slowly rolled out over weeks, is designed
to keep Facebook's 1 billion users on the site, lure data-obsessed
advertisers and make a dent in Google's multibillion-dollar search
machine. It might also butt heads with services such as Foursquare and
"This is one of the coolest things we've done in awhile,"
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at a packed press conference at the
company's headquarters here. "It's the kind of product we love to build
at Facebook: It's for a big technology problem and big social problem."
of the first big news from Facebook in months has prompted investors to
snap up shares and and push them above $30 - though still shy of the
company's IPO price of $38 in May.
Yet, on Tuesday, investors were blasé: Facebook shares tumbled 2.7%, to $30.10.
hoodie-wearing Zuckerberg says the tool could offer Facebook a path to
crack the online-dating market and compete with such sites as LinkedIn
that specialize in job recruiting. In one example, he showed a list of
Mexican restaurants that his Facebook friends had visited and "liked."
he and other Facebook executives emphasized Graph Search is not a Web
search, and can only view content that people have shared.
What also distinguishes the new Facebook search: It's done by phrases, not words.
is big data at its biggest," Gartner analyst Brian Blau says. "It will
eventually affect any company that deals with a large amount of data."
Financial stakes are high.
raked in about $4.2 billion from advertising last year - 84% of its
estimated $5 billion in total revenue, according to eMarketer. Leading
the charge were mobile display sales. Facebook took home about 18% of
the U.S. market last year, or $339 million, besting Google's 17%.
Google took home 15% of the nearly $15 billion U.S. display ad market, with Facebook close behind.
Payments accounted for Facebook's remaining $800 million in 2012 revenue, eMarketer estimates.
expect a mobile version of Graph Search soon. "It's going to take years
and years to index (all the information on Facebook)," Zuckerberg says.
"In the future, we want to get to mobile, non-English languages, and
all the posts and all of the content on Facebook."