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The new Facebook Graph Search, despite in a limited beta release, seems to run searches for online dating singles on the social network to friends of friends.
The “Third Pillar,” as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls it, has the ability to search stuff – books, music, people, photos, places, and so on – that friends on the platform “Like,” and it is set to roll out worldwide over the coming months.
With years of acting as a real cupid between friends, Facebook now wants more than just a dip in the online dating pond.
Tom Stocky, director of product management at Facebook, even played up friends of friends as a good place to start looking for dates.
Other than being a potential threat to Google’s online search and ads business, Graph Search makes available online another user’s Facebook interests and relationship status – surely a quick way to choose potential matches.
Single males will have an easier time looking for single females – and vice versa – based on their location, favorite movies, and musical inclinations, among others.
A man’s ideal woman can have an appetite for spicy food, an adrenaline rush over action-packed movies, and a headbanger, whereas women can go after a single man who reads Jane Austen’s novels and watches Gossip Girl.
Graph Search completes the tool set for online dating when paired with Facebook apps Messenger and Poke.
Messenger is a mobile app for smartphones and tablets that allows Facebook members to see friends who are available for an unlimited online chat, whereas Poke allows users to flirt with other users through messages or photos that expire after a set period.
Neil Strauss, author of The New York Times bestseller The Game, said men will surely exploit Graph Search to look for beautiful profile pictures of women, who will be teased but displeased.
The first person who will take advantage of new technology is the desperate, single man, Straus added.
Courtship means Facebook Gifts – paid transactions for the delivery of flowers, chocolates, stuffed toys, candies, and so on – will help drive the growth in membership and pull advertisements related to the single men and women’s searches.
If Facebook will exert more effort on becoming an online dating platform, companies who specialize on and earn through this service will have a free, towering rival at their doorstep.
According to MarketResearch.com, the online dating market in the United States was a $2.1 billion business last year.
Facebook said Graph Search changes the way people reconnect with an acquaintance, or a special someone, who they quickly met at an occasion but only remember their first name, along with several passing details.
Forrester analyst Nate Elliott is warning social networkers against using Facebook as an online dating hub, saying that unlike on online dating sites where people actually look for dates, anyone can register as single on Facebook with ulterior motives.
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