Imagine Facebook's Graph Search - but for business

Posted by Marshall Kirkpatrick on Jan 16, 2013 1:05:00 AM

That's what Little Bird is building. Facebook announced a major new feature today, called Graph Search, which allows you to limit a search to just the content and profiles that belong to your friends on Facebook. That's interesting for consumer market fun-time, but imagine how valuable this kind of approach to search could be for businesses.

If you want to find out which of your friends are single or like chocolate or have a dog, use Facebook's Graph Search. But if you want to find out what the smartest business experts on the web have to say about something important, then you should use Little Bird's Custom Search.

That's one of the ways to understand one of Little Bird's key features, which we call Custom Search. Instead of searching the content of your Facebook friends, though, Little Bird lets you search inside the blog and website content of any network of the web's leading experts on a particular topic. First we map out the network of the most-trusted experts on a topic, then we help you engage with those experts and their content in a variety of ways, including by searching their archival content.

Below: Searching for discussions of "HTML5 ads" on the blogs and sites of the web's leading Mobile Marketing experts.

 This is an incredibly fast way to pull up background, research and niche expert content on anything - by drawing a circle around a particular part of the web and only searching inside of that circle of high-quality, on-topic websites. You can reference this content in the content you create and your audiences will assume that you just happened to have read a blog post from a deep subject matter expert months ago and have instant recall of what the post said. In truth, your secret weapon (Little Bird), simply made that information much easier for you to discover, on demand. If you take just a few minutes to do this, you will almost certainly be the most well-informed person in any conversation.

It's fun to search among your friends - but it's even more fun to totally rock at your job because you have all the writing of the world's leading experts at your fingertips.

This has been a challenging concept for us to communicate to people, I think because it's a new idea. It's no longer new though, if Facebook just started doing something analogous for hundreds of millions of people and their friends. That's going to be fun, but we believe that in a business context, this approach to search is incredibly powerful.

Note: Implementation of this feature is among the most-beta of the things happening here, so it may take a little extra experimentation if you're using Little Bird Custom Search today before the platform is released to General Availability. It should work pretty well already today, though!

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