Two consecutive days, two major bombs regarding Facebook search. But first thing is first. A while ago I saw a link to a website called curaytor.com. Users were able to click and leave their e-mail address so that they could be invited once this conversation search engine was launched. The official date was also very visible on the website: January 17th. Once a user subscribed, they received an email from one of the founders thanking them for choosing to be part of this new and interesting Facebook conversation search engine.
Time passed by and on January 17th the site was officially launched. Chris Smith and Jimmy Mackin announced their new conversation search engine named Curaytor at the Inman News Real Estate Connect conference. Yes, this search engine’s creators are famous in the real estate field. In order for their project to work, they built a layer on top of Facebook’s Group API using WordPress. Curaytor’s lead developer was Andrew Leafe who collaborated in the past with the Facebook Open Graph on a number of successful projects.
“The conversations that Curaytor surfaces are in-depth and informative. Old school online forums or leaving comments after a blog post used to be the online water cooler. Social media has made them virtually obsolete overnight. Facebook’s clearly where the masses now engage” said Chris Smith. “Curaytor’s discussions happen in real time, between real people and on the site they already log into each day. It’s powerful when your friends and colleagues conversations are the search results you discover. We could only do this by building on top of Facebook’s established ecosystem and connections.”
“We want to help people find conversations, not websites. We don’t want to just be another place to search for articles, Google does that pretty well. Our search results populate in a different way, naturally through everyday human behavior. People are logging into Facebook and interacting anyways, why not leverage that new type of content” Mackin added. “The real problem we went after is that Facebook threads go away too quickly, there are 1,000,000 new status updates happening every single minute in fact. With Curaytor, those social discussions are now organized and easily searchable. Simply put, we built a better net.”
The search engine uses a secret “human algorithm” in order to organize tens of thousands of real time and past dated social conversations. All of them are then categorised: Trending, Popular, Recent and Staff Picks. Users can also search Curaytor by keyword, user profile picture, company name or news source.
Curaytor currently offers curated conversations from three very popular Facebook real estate groups: “What should I spend my money on?” (4,182 members); “Raise the Bar in Real Estate” (2,263 members); and “Tech Support Group for Real Estate Agents” (4,591 members).
In the future Curaytor plans to add other page administrators who will add more interesting content for their subscribers. Moreover, the founders plan to extend the search to other areas of interests such as fashion, politics, travel and sports. Another important plan is to include content from other social media networks like Twitter and Google Plus.
A day after Curaytor’s launch, Facebook announced Graph Search, a new and more flexible search mechanism on this social network. As people are already present on Facebook and have access to all the content in this network, even if not all of it is interesting, it would seem like a logical step to use the network’s option to search for something and not a third party site/app.
I must admit that the “coincidence” of these launches was funny. One site announces its official launch date, has a day of glory and the next day discovers that Facebook rolls out an enhanced version of its search engine. And Facebook Graph has already generated a lot of buzz.
Will Curaytor stand a chance? Well, it’s all about what users need. If they search for curated conversations delivered by e-mail then yes, it stands a chance. If users prefer to use the social network to more rapidly search for something, then it is very hard to attract them on another site providing the same service.
Creating a mechanism that will provide users with relevant content that will indeed help them in their work could however insure Curaytor’s success. Integrating content from various platforms will also be a key feature and a differentiating factor from Facebook’s Search Graph. But let’s not forget that Google also offers social search, though, as you’ll see in Curaytor’s official presentation included below there is a difference between what this search engine provides by comparison with the results offered by Google.