Mark Zuckerberg may have had more business in Russia than anyone realized last October as Russia’s Yandex prepared to debut their Wonder social search app for Facebook, which Facebook has now banned.
Looking for a good breakfast restaurant in Los Angeles that serves great pancakes? How about an oxygen bar that has a great vegan menu – one that a Facebook Friend may ‘Like’? Well last week Facebook introduced Graph Search, but there’s actually a new application called Wonder by Yandex, and it goes far and beyond what Graph Search brings back in search results.
Yandex is a Russian company that has designed a search engine of immense importance to the Russian community.
Yesterday Yandex released a social search app called Wonder. Wonder is a mobile app that uses Nuance’s speech-to-text technology and responds to questions you ask it. If need be though, you can of course ask the question the old-fashioned way by typing it in. Wonder answers everyday type questions. Things like “What hamburger places in Los Angeles do my friends like?” Wonder then brings back a list of places you friends like. It also returns the query with the names of the people that it get the results from. The real beauty of Wonder though is that unlike Graph Search which searches only Facebook for social searches, Wonder searches Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram and Twitter. Well, it use to search Facebook.Yandex recently got news from Facebook that it will not be allowed to index Facebook data and return search results it gets from Facebook social searches. Yandex pleaded with Facebook not to disallow their social search app, but Facebook has officially now banned all API calls from Wonder. For Facebook it seems like a move to eradicate competition and doe what Graph Search may be designed to do. That is, get you into Facebook, and keep you there. The eradication of any Graph Search type ability from any other company on Facebook data means that Graph Search remains king. Wonder users can still get data returned from Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram. Ironically, Instagram is owned by Facebook.
In a somewhat similar blocking scenario, last week Facebook also blocked a voice messaging app called Voxer which also stepped over into what can be seen as Graph Search territory as well.
Developers have valued Facebook as somewhat of an open platform, but if Facebook begins to continually shutdown other apps that it may see as competing with their own internal attempts to direct users, it could mean an abandonment of by many developers of what could be projects that could actually foster innovation.