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Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by uggboy, Jan 17, 2013.
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|| How will Facebook's new search engine affect the travel industry? ||
I admit to being a bit of a fogey (e.g., no Twitter account) but I see social search having limited applicability to travel. If you share your friends' tastes in hotels and areas to visit, then maybe, but I think most people want to search using specific criteria such as price, schedule, facilities, etc.
I don't think Graph Search is going to be that big of a deal when it comes to that...
The problem is that it's populated by what your friends like. If you're one of those people that have hundreds and hundreds of facebook "friends" that you don't really know, and that you wouldn't trust with travel advice, then at best you're going to get bad advice.
The other bad thing about it is that it amplifies the problems with facebook overall. People can create groups/pages/interests and like them, however asinine they might be, and when you start asking for recommendations on what your friends like, you might find some "interesting" results.
I'll bite. I definitely drink the social media cool-aid. I work in collaboration, and I'm hugely active on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks. But all that said, Facebook for me has become a mashup of too much stuff for Graph Search to be at all useful, let alone relevant to travel.
Facebook used to be a place to connect with friends, family, and close acquaintances. For me, working in a social media rich environment, also means that over the years my Facebook profile has become clouded with work contacts; peers, management, clients, prospective clients, etc. Now I've never treated Facebook as a place for drunken party pics, so this blurring of audience hasn't really had an effect on the way I use Facebook as a platform (I've always followed the rules that if you wouldn't want your mom to see it don't put it online), but it absolutely means that all of the social graph functions are less applicable to me.
Facebook has long has this plan of being able to connect anyone with anything through x degrees of likeness. Graph search is just another way of doing that, but as viguera said above... it's often not only bad information, but irrelevant information. *If* I only had 50 friends on Facebook and they were all school friends or family, it might add value, but I don't know anyone who is disciplined enough to limit their networks so selectively. They must be out there, and maybe they'll get value from it, but in a broad market sense it seems fairly useless.
Even in the original Facebook model of just connecting you with other students of your school... do you really care if someone you had one class with two years ago went on a vacation?
Well even if it's dealing with current acquaintances, the differences in tastes are such that it's probably not very useful.
Even if people start switching to Facebook for specific searches instead of Google, the things you'll be looking for are not really something that the current "like" system will be able to help out with. You might be looking for places to travel, new bars/restaurant, reviews of a specific hotel, a new TV or whatever... "Friends who liked Maytag" or something like that is not really a good indicator.
And check-ins are only good if you want to know how many people have visited a specific place, but it doesn't do much for ratings... the new Nearby feature wants to address this by asking people to review places after you check-in, but even if people do this, that doesn't do much. Some of your friends' ratings are undoubtedly more valuable than others... maybe somebody's a foodie or likes the same type of wine, etc.
It's a start, but Graph Search is not -- by far -- anything that I would use to replace (or even supplement) my current process of discovery when it comes to hotels / restaurants or any other product for that matter.
That's how I feel, but then, I'm not one who sees tremendous value in most social media.
I'm always scrolling past endless posts by FB friends about movies they've just seen that I have less than zero interest in seeing, just as one example.