The introduction of the Graph Search feature could move Facebook beyond just the social networking landscape.
Facebook now has the chance to become just as successful as Google. The social network's user base and new search feature could very well turn the company into the thing Wall Street wanted it to be last May. But the question is: Does Facebook want to be Google?
"Graph Search isn't web search," said Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at a press conference for the new feature.
However, Graph Search is a clear signal that Facebook is now looking to move past being just a repository for consumer information. Facebook now must realise it can no longer bank on the idea that it can turn a strong profit by selling just traditional web ads.
The smartphone boom has left that business model floundering. Facebook's huge mobile base and advertiser's reluctance to spend big on mobile advertising means it needs an alternative way to generate cash.
However, with a new search engine in place, Facebook can begin creating new ads that don't feel like ads. Restaurants can now show up on searches as sponsored results. Sponsored TV shows could now show up as recommendations when searching for your friend's favourite shows.
With sponsored ads, Facebook will now be able to serve up advertisements in a way that consumers might be more willing to accept.
Google already broke ground on the sponsored search front. Its ability to turn a profit through its search algorithm has been monumental in making the company a success. Bringing a service like Adwords to the market has been one of Google's greatest coups.
If Facebook is able to do something similar with its new search feature, the results could be monumental. Coupling Adwords-style search abilities with Facebook's user base would mean big ad revenues in the company's future.
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