Facebook search, social memory and Google…

Facebook Graph Search is being rolled out. This could potentially become social search, and challenge Google’s dominance as a search engine. Here’s why…

This deserves a longer post… I’ll re-write it when I get a chance.

Why is Facebook’s social search potentially important?

If I remember correctly, In “Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World”, Kevin Kelly mentions that a hive of honeybees can retain information for much longer than an individual bee.

Together, people are good at remembering the important information.

Social media can be seen as an extension of our memories. We band together online to ease our minds. It’s easier.

Many of us are drowning in information, and (the amazing) Google is currently of little help as:

a) Humans use social cues and context to divine meaning. We use friends and family as extensions of our minds, containers of our memories.

b) Google is letting itself be gamed – How a copied-and-pasted excerpt of a story can still outrank an 8,000-word original:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/jwherrman/why-does-google-still-reward-content-scraping

c) Google still hasn’t sorted out the massively complex problem of temporal bias.
“I worry about the temporal bias of the web – everything online is based around vertical chronology. The latest stuff floats at the top, and the older stuff sinks towards the bottom.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2012/dec/30/maria-popova-brain-pickings-internet

d) By giving recent content prominence, Google is only reflecting our preferences, anyway: “availability heuristic, is the tendency to make a judgement about the frequency of an event based on how easy it is to recall similar instances.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Availability_heuristic

Google is astonishing but humans are still best, in many cases, at divining meaning from noise.

And that’s why Facebook’s social search developments could challenge today’s dominant search engines.

See also:

http://gigaom.com/2012/10/20/creating-order-from-digital-chaos/

http://aworkinglibrary.com/library/archives/drafts/

http://searchengineland.com/facebook-search-not-google-search-145124

Image: The bookwheel, a revolving bookstand by Agostino Ramelli, 1588

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