Today, Facebook finally launched a long-awaited stand-alone iOS application called Notify. Contrary to much of the hype, the application is not a newsreader, rather, it’s a push notification manager for your iPhone.
If you’ve read the blog, you know that I am actively contemplating what the future of search looks like. I think this development could actually be a big one in Facebook’s ongoing quest to become your favorite search engine.
If you think about it, unlike traditional push notifications for status updates, every notification will now be coming through with a link. Some of those links may live on Facebook, but most will not. We know that earlier this year, Facebook started indexing public links inside of its index, and recently started surfacing them to users in search results.
So, in my opinion, the discovery is this: what better way to build an index of search listings and rank criteria than by having all the links pass through your Facebook proxy? Every time you click on a result, it’s like an automatic scoring mechanism for Facebook to be able to understand how many publishers are really living up to their subscribers’ expectations.
I think that this data presents some commercial opportunities for Facebook in terms of working with advertisers and publishers. It also provides them with a tremendous resource in overall search and discovery.
I suppose that there is little from preventing Apple from using the same strategy for enriching its Spotlight search engine, however, I don’t think it gets the add-on benefits that Facebook does in terms of advertisers.
Under the hood of Notify, you’ll find a manager where you can basically control the updates you receive from participating publishers. I would imagine that as they ramp more publishers up, we might see some changes in how many publish to the news feed, but perhaps not. That’s definitely one of these things that I think we will only know as it starts playing out.
You’ll be able to learn more about Notify including publishers at the Notify website.
Looking forward to see how this technology evolves. Please share your experience and thoughts in the comments.