Facebook may be entering the search race, but it's still far from overtaking Google.
The blogosphere is abuzz today over news that Facebook will start including some sites that use its Open Graph protocol in search results. Many have described the update starkly: Facebook "guns for Google," "brings the fight to Google," and, my favorite, "just threw down the Google-flavored gauntlet." It's significant news, but Facebook's approach suffers from the same features that make it so unique.
In April, Facebook introduced its Open Graph protocol, which offered webmasters two things: a "like" button to install on their webpage for Facebook users to click on to show their approval; and a set of tags webmasters can use to tell Facebook what their site is about. Now, the social network confirmed to online publication All Facebook that "all Open Graph-enabled web pages will show up in search when a user likes them."
Facebook can take a search for "Michael Jackson," for example, and return pages self-identified as being about the pop star and arrange them in order of most liked. Unlike Google and other search engines, which rely on links and other metrics to rank results, Facebook can outsource the identifying and organizing of sites to webmasters and its own users.