Huge news today. Tonight Facebook will be launching a public listing search feature which will allow any unregistered user to search its records for a specific person. More significantly, it will officially be opening up its profiles for search engine crawling, which means Facebook user profiles will be indexed and showing up in Google results next month. Likely near the top.
What does this mean? Depends on who you ask. A few things jump out at me today, which should become clearer as the weeks roll on:
1. Privacy is naturally an issue. Facebook is giving its users a month to take down any sensitive information from their profiles. (Um, you should be doing that anyway.)
2. Domination of the people search business. With this move, Facebook’s positioning itself to squelch funded people search companies like Spock, Wink, Zoominfo, WikiYou, and PeekYou. It’s gonna be the White Pages of the Web. This reminds me of the day back in 2001 when Google cracked and indexed the then 22-year-old Usenet database, which changed the world overnight. Google’s acquisition quickly proved to be the coup de grace for the top engines at the time like Lycos, HotBot, AltaVista, and to a certain extent, Yahoo. (I mean, really. Do you reach for anything other than Google now?) It wasn’t long before Google became not only a household word, but a verb. (GTP = “Google that puppy!”) We can probably expect the same from Facebook. (“Have you Facebooked her yet?”)
3. Cha-chinnng. Somebody’s gonna get unimaginably rich fast. Keep an eye out for a big deal with lots of commas, and try to keep your resentment in check.
This is gonna be fun to watch. Jump on over and register with Facebook if you haven’t done so already. And look me up.