01/15/2013 06:58 pm ET Updated Jan 16, 2013

New Facebook Search: This Is Only The Beginning

Welcome to my new blog on social media; this is my first post. I hope to spotlight the latest trends and provide context on the ever-evolving social media space through daily "quick hits" and analysis.

The key takeaway from Facebook's announcement today about its new "Graph Search" would seem to be this quote from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

He said, according to The Verge: "This is one of the coolest things we've done in a while, and I want to emphasize how early we are in this [...] This is a beta product."

He wants to remind people "how early we are in this." That says there's more to come; they're still building. Facebook's search functionality is going to get even better and we're only getting a glimpse at the future.

This reminds me when the iPad first came out. There were a lot of people who criticized that announcement and made jokes (like today; many on social media said Facebook's announcement was underwhelming). Look where the iPad is now, how the tablet market has grown. That's because at the beginning, it was just a tablet. Then there were so many apps built ON TOP of the iPad which made it so remarkable and made it what it is.

Similarly, Facebook is laying the basic infrastructure of Graph Search first. Then, it can build on that, and build on that, until it has a completely new type of search, powered by social, that no one else is likely to match. There's the unique product and that's what we all have to look forward to.

As of now, Facebook's Graph Search emulates LinkedIn in that you can search for friends of friends who work for X company; and it's a little bit like Yelp in that you can find restaurants in your local area that others have visited and might recommend.

It hardly competes with Google - in fact it's really a different product that uses the social layer that Facebook offers to answer questions you might have, many of which you wouldn't go to Google for anyway. (For example, who are my friends in San Francisco?)

But Facebook's search will continue to evolve. These are the first stones being laid for a larger building. This is the backbone of a future product - a much more robust, even real-time, search that becomes a destination in itself.

In its first phase, 'Graph Search' will allow you to discover interesting people to "follow" on Facebook (this used to be called "subscribe" and was just changed); search for public photos, perhaps narrowed down to a certain location; and surface countless items of data about your friends, their friends and others, which you can filter any number of ways. In the future, it will allow you to do much, much more.

MORE: Interested in this? Check out these must-reads:

CNET: "Facebook's Graph Search: Big deal or big joke?" by Jennifer Van Grove
TIME: "Facebook’s Graph Search Is the Future of Facebook" by Harry McCracken
HuffPost: "Facebook Introduces 'Graph Search,' New Search Engine From Social Giant"