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That's why it was so striking to see Facebook tease a feature clearly intended for dating during the company's big press event on Tuesday for Graph Search, a new search engine that lets members use natural language to pull up recommendations for people, places and businesses from their social graph.
Facebook reps demonstrated several uses for the product, ranging from recruiting to searching for restaurant recommendations.
If you want to find single women under the age of 35 who are from your hometown and now live in New York, you can type exactly that into the search engine and see what pops up.
At first blush, it might seem obvious that Facebook could be used for dating purposes.
Then, at one point, a Facebook employee stood on stage and searched for "friends of my friends who are single and living in San Francisco." With that simple line, Facebook asserted itself as a potentially big player in the future of online dating.
who share similar interests, whereas Facebook's focus was on helping you find the people you do know.
One conclusion he arrived at pretty early on was that it shouldn't be branded as a dating site.
Meanwhile, he says some dating websites are starting to re-brand a bit by taking the "pink hearts" off their homepage with the goal of being a little more welcoming to those who might previously have been put off by the idea of online dating.
Facebook could fit nicely in this trend by serving as a more general social venue where casual users occasionally browse for dates without necessarily branding themselves as online daters.
"There is no way for the third party to signal that 'yes, I want a date to approach me.'" More fundamentally, Fishman says that his company found Facebook's Like data was often not fresh or comprehensive enough to serve as a match-making tool.
"If I asked you what your favorite movies are and went to your movies section on Facebook, I don't think they would match up.
In essence, that's the purpose of our all-of-the-above energy strategy.