January 15, 2013
Facebook Introduces Graph Search To Social Networking
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Facebook announced a new service today meant to give users the ability to search the information already shared with them and find answers tailored to their needs. Called Entitled Graph Search, the new service only has access to information shared with the individual, and then returns the appropriate answer.
As he was introducing the service, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was careful to mention that Graph Search was not Web Search. The social giant has been rumored before to have intentions to take Google on directly, using their massive stores of information to create a alternative to the search giant. However, while Graph Search does make use of the information Facebook´s been collecting from its 1 billion users, it´s not yet a Web alternative.
In order to get the right results, Graph Search makes use of filters to weed out any irrelevant results. These filters give users the ability to get granular results about a myriad of queries--using People, Places, Photos and Interests.
As an example, if a user searches for restaurants in Chicago, Illinois, he or she receives results based on any restaurant in the Windy City that their friends have mentioned, dined at, and/or have taken a snapshot of meals they were served.
“It´s early,” said Zuckerberg as he unveiled this new service, “but it´s a way of answering questions.”
In another example, Zuckerberg searched for his friends who live in Palo Alto who are also fans of Game of Thrones. Graph Search returned a list of friends who match this description.
In short, this new service is a way to have questions answered in a tailored and personal way.
For better or worse, Graph Search can even make finding friends of friends even easier. Now when you want to look up a friend of a friend on Facebook, you can use the list of filters to drill down the results--down to school, relationship, employer, current city and hometown. For instance, if you meet a person who went to college with your co-worker, you can define these search terms to find this person on Facebook.
Facebook engineer Lars Rasmussen said in a Facebook news release this new service can even be a useful recruiting tool, allowing potential employers to search for specific positions at specific companies.
While many had expected Facebook to take aim at Google with a new search alternative, it appears as if this functionality of Graph Search has placed a direct target on LinkedIn.
As with anything associated with Facebook, there are clearly privacy issues at stake. Given their history, it´s safe to say anyone who is uncomfortable sharing information with their friends should take another spin through their privacy settings as Facebook likes to change these at will. Any information, such as photos or check-ins, which is made public, will be viewable in Graph Search.
The company was careful to repeat this in their announcement today: “Anything you can see on Facebook, you can see on Graph Search.”
While this is meant to assuage those who want to have control over what is seen in Graph Search, it´s also a subtle reminder that any public information will be given a much larger stage as soon as this service goes public.
Currently, Graph Search is available as a limited preview and according to Facebook will be slow to roll out, but those eager to try Facebook´s new service can sign up on the wait list at Facebook.com.