January 19, 2013
Facebook (NASDAQ: FB ) held a media event on Tuesday, unveiling a new search platform that plays off the social graph of the data that friends submit.
Graph Search didn't wow the market, though there are certainly some tantalizing possibilities. When it rolls out of beta, imagine searching through your friends or, perhaps more importantly, "friends of friends" to ferret out useful information -- such as:
- Friends who have been to Dollywood.
- Friends of friends who are single and are laywers.
- Photos of friends from 1997.
There's power in Facebook. A billion active users and the trillions of connections that they have made can't be underestimated. The world's leading social-networking website -- and no other site is even close -- is just scratching the surface on what it can do with its data.
Sure, privacy will be an issue. Facebook may one day go too far in its data mining, and advocacy groups already fear the possibilities. However, Facebook did peel back the curtain on something special this week. The stock price may lead investors to believe otherwise, but Graph Social is a game changer.
Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.
- Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) announced on Friday night that it will take a sizable charge after uncovering spotty accounting at a recently acquired subsidiary doing business in China. I guess some caterpillars don't transform into butterflies.
- Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU ) is broadening its reach. China's leading search engine is joining forces with France's Orange to co-develop a mobile browser for smartphone customers in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. What? Isn't China enough? Well played, Baidu.
- Disney (NYSE: DIS ) introduced Disney Infinity, a new video-game line that will feature actual figurines that when placed on a connected base come to life in the game. Many have rightfully argued that this is a lot like Activision Blizzard's (NASDAQ: ATVI ) Skylanders franchise, at least to the extent of having physical figures placed on a base to create a customized gaming experience. The family-entertainment giant has been known to build on the past. Many of its classic animated features are based on timeless tales. Critics will pipe down quickly when the inevitable Marvel and Star Wars figurines roll out.
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