How Google Knowledge Graph Search Impacts Retailers
Facebook collects a massive amount of data on consumers’ interests, likes and relationships. Until recently, the only way to monetize this data was to display ads next to a person's page on the social media site.
Enter Graph Search. At first glance, it seems that Graph Search might be an excellent vehicle to monetize Facebook's content. Graph Search can qualify a user better than ever since it stands at the intersection between a user's intent (their search terms) and their connections and interests (the graph). Therefore, retailers hope that Graph Search will help them reach their target audience more efficiently. More data helps retailers to narrow down and reach their relevant demographic.
One potential issue is that Graph Search relies on people's willingness to keep their personal information updated and accurate. A second issue is the tension between Facebook's eagerness for making this data available to partners and the user's desire to control how it's shared.
Facebook isn't the sole keeper of data about people, interests and connections, however. Google likely beats Facebook in that category. For all the data Facebook has collected about people through their chats, profiles, likes and connections, Google+ has it beat. Skeptical? Let's look at the evidence:
Some may object that Facebook has a much larger user base than Google+ (see TrendStreams), and they would be correct. I contend that Google has many more ways to narrow down your profile through services that don't have a counterpart in Facebook's offering today. Consider the following:
- Google Search can describe your immediate interest, including what you may not include on a social media profile page.
- Google Mail provides both a connection network and fills in the content between each connection via the messages exchanged. Arguably, chats fill a similar function, but the amount of meaningful information found in chats often pales in comparison to what emails provide.
- Google Calendar tracks your important appointments.
- Google Shopping provides a massive catalog of products, with retailers paying to upload their listings. Google can also track which products consumers are interested in.
- Google Maps can track where you are and where you want to go.
- Google Knowledge Graph contains more than 18 billion facts about the world. Google can infer that when you like "Aquemini," you're referring to the 1998 album by OutKast, and that you may be into hip-hop.
- YouTube, owned by Google, holds your artistic contributions and can glean clues about your interests based on which videos you watch.
All things said, Google has a better knowledge of you and your household than Facebook, and by a long shot. Your profile, interests, connections, things you buy, things you say, where you go and what you look for is tied to your Google+ account or other identifiable information (see browser fingerprinting).