An advertising metric which has become more and more available for business owners to use has been social search. Facebook, MySpace to a degree, and mobile access to these online communities comprises a network of millions of people; both locally and beyond. Google is by far the king of search online, but Facebook recently has put a twist on the angle of social search. In October of 2004 Facebook applied to patent what was called “curated search” but for all intent and purpose is social search. As of this past February, the patent was granted.
The language of the filing is as such: “Visual tags for search results generated from social network information.”
If that seems somewhat broad and far reaching, you’re not alone. Digging through the information contained within the patent application it’s explained more thoroughly. Here is the definition of search via Facebooks patent application:
“A key metric in evaluating the performance of search engines is relevance of the search results. Search engine developers are always striving to deliver search results that are relevant to the search query being processed. A frequently used technique is analyzing how web pages link to each other. A web page gets a ranking boost based on the number of other web pages that are linked to it. Click-through rates of search results are analyzed in some search engines. The general rule is: the higher the click-through rate, the higher the ranking.”
And their definition of social search is defined as well.
“According to an embodiment of the invention, search results, including sponsored links and algorithmic search results, are generated in response to a query, and are ranked based on the frequency of clicks on the search results by members of social network who are within a predetermined degree of separation from the member who submitted the query.”
The idea is that relevance is dependant partly on the number of clicks your friends give to links, as well as how closely tied you are to your friends. The awarding of the patent likely won’t vastly alter the social search game, it does prove however that Zuckerberg had search in mind the entire time for Facebook; the company was launched in February of 2004, the application made only a few months later in October.