Friday, January 18, 2013

Social Graph Search? I Don't Geddit...

So FaceBook's announced its "Graph Search" functionality. The tech publishing community, looking to create a story where one likely doesn't meaningfully exist, wants to grab eyeballs by loudly asking, "should Google be worried" or stating "FaceBook is encroaching on Google's turf". I'm not sure I can buy into this attempt to grab page-views.

In order for something to be "social" it has to be more than two dorks, each sitting by themselves, doing the same solitary activity. To be honest, I don't really care if my friends are watching the same movie on NetFlix or listening to the same tune on Spotify that I am. If we aren't sitting in the same room, able to MST3K it together, what's the point.

And, before someone chimes in, "you could be on chat or headphones doing just that", no, actually, you can't. None of the media services currently offer a synchronous consumption capability. Ironically, about the only way you have that is if you happen to both be watching one of the legacy "on demand" cable services from the same cable company - not one of the "new media" service providers' offerings.

If I'm watching something that's even 1s ahead of the other person, my MST3K'ing is going to be a spoiler (in our house, this is seen with hockey where the feed to my wife's set-top box is usually 1-3s off of the feed to my set-top box. Instead of being a good thing, it's actually rather annoying when watching the same sporting event and one of you hears the other "woot" or "groan" in reaction to an even the other has yet to see.

And, while I value the opinion of friends on services, movies, etc., most of my friends are geographically distributed enough that I'm much more likely to get a valuable recommendation for a plumber/restaurant/etc. from a nearby stranger than I am a friend who lives 30 miles away.

Thanks, I'll take a basic Google search or a Yelp search to a "Graph Search" when I'm looking for more than "what is my friend doing right now". Even when I want to know the answer to that question, it's mostly because I am thinking of calling them to see if they're free to do something that's actually "social" rather than something that is communally-solitary.