Thursday, June 25, 2009

Facebook & Google: windows on our knowledge seeking world

Today, the Google-Facebook rivalry isn't just going strong, it has evolved into a full-blown battle over the future of the Internet—its structure, design, and utility. For the last decade or so, the Web has been defined by Google's algorithms—rigorous and efficient equations that parse practically every byte of online activity to build a dispassionate atlas of the online world. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg envisions a more personalized, humanized Web, where our network of friends, colleagues, peers, and family is our primary source of information, just as it is offline. In Zuckerberg's vision, users will query this "social graph" to find a doctor, the best camera, or someone to hire—rather than tapping the cold mathematics of a Google search. It is a complete rethinking of how we navigate the online world, one that places Facebook right at the center. In other words, right where Google is now.

i.e the knowledge world of the tribe, or the atlas; the village or the city. From Wired.
Facebook isn't just kneecapping Google's search engine; it is also competing with it. Facebook encourages its 200 million members to use Microsoft's search engine, which it installed on its homepage late last year as part of the deal struck between the two companies. At press time, it was also planning to launch Facebook Search, allowing users to scour one another's feeds. Want to see what some anonymous schmuck thought about the Battlestar Galactica finale? Check out Google. Want to see what your friends had to say? Try Facebook Search. And it will not only be for searching within Facebook. Because Facebook friends post links to outside sites, you will be able to use it as a gateway to the Web—making it a direct threat to Google. Why settle for articles about the Chrysler bankruptcy that the Google News algorithm recommends when you can read what your friends suggest?

This needs thinking about: how does epistemological mobility take place in the Facebook model?

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