Facebook announces Graph Search

Facebook teased the world last week when it sent out invites to members of the press to come to their headquarters for a news conference. Today, company's CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the new product they have been building is called Graph Search, which he said is one of the company's three "pillars" (News Feed and Timeline are the other two".

Engadget reports that Graph Search, according to Zuckerberg, is not intended to be a web search engine like Google or Microsoft's Bing, but an engine that will search out information across all of Facebook's one billion users. Graph Search is supposed to be able to answer specific questions, with Zuckerberg saying, "You really need to just ask 'Who are my friends in San Francisco?' and get the answer quickly."

He is also promising that Graph Search has been built with the privacy of Facebook users in mind. It will allow its users to find nearby friends who might watch the same TV show to perhaps get together for a viewing party (Game of Thrones is apparently a favorite show of Zuckerberg's). The search results can be ordered by how close you are with your Facebook friends that show up in the search result.

Facebook also says that if your profile can only be seen by your Facebook friends, than Graph Search won't show any results to anyone other than your friends.

Ultimately, it looks like Graph Search is supposed to make finding new Facebook friends easier while also encouraging better connections with the Facebook friends you already have. It will be interesting to see how Google responds (it has Google+ in place already). Microsoft already offers up Facebook search engine results in Bing but there's no word if Graph Search will affect the Bing relationship.

There's no word yet on when Graph Search will go live but we will update this post when and if that info becomes available.

Update: Facebook has posted up a press release with more information about Graph Search, including word that a limited beta is available for some users now. You can sign up for the beta on Facebook's website, which also offers users a quick sample of a personal Graph Search result. There's no word on when it will launch for all Facebook users.

Source: Engadget | Image via Engadget and Facebook

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38 Comments

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big brothers are watching you. and they are all your creepy and socially pathetic friends. courtesy of facebook.

This could potentially be massive, tailored search results based on the amount of information facebook has. It's potentially an advertisers dream.

Syanide said,
No one but gullible morons and SEO whores will give a flying **** about this.

I have hard time giving flying ****s, chickens too damn fast.....

I don't care what people say- this is really cool! There are some many possibilities that I can think of, particular around finding people you met at parties, finding other people interested in the same thing as you to organise gatherings (board games, starcraft).

You can think of almost anything.

Facebook and Microsoft are just trying to gang up on Google because neither one can gain on Google by themselves. As far as BING, they know where they can shove it. I don't care for it at all. I replace it with Google on all machines I repair.

Doesn't this rely on people putting every aspect of their life on Facebook? Everything you like, must be there for this to work. Maybe I'm just not addicted to Facebook, but I don't "like" every show I watch on there. So I'm going to be left out of the search for lots of things.

I can see pretty good uses.
Imagine doing something like, "Who's free on the 19th of January?"
or search for local events on the 19th of january, and see which friends have RSVP'd.

Enhancing the social collaborative tool seems like a good stepping stone, and this will likely increase the usages of scheduling things through facebook.

Exactly. I think this is awesome.

I remember hearing similar complaints about how the Timeline wasn't important, but I've used my own quite a bit.

How about add some very basic search functionality to search my friend's timeline for a keyword? Or my own activity or timeline? Facebook currently has the absolute worst search features.

You mean like using #hashtags? Google+, Instagram (Ironically part of Facebook), and Twitter use it. It makes searching easier in those networks.

ugh, as if I would want to #see my #facebook wall covered #hashtags all over every #post.

The point of this is that you don't need keywords, it indexes everything intelligently without that. without ugly hashtags all over.

I want to see #hashtags. It would be nice if I was going to my friends concert (he performs in NYC every month) and I don't know his other friends but I would love to see those pictures by clicking on a #hashatag #bandNameTrashBar. You see some people don't allow others who tag them to show up on their timeline. Thankfully most of us also use Google+ and with that service it has Party Mode. That is a great thing to have especially for Weddings, Concerts, etc. http://goo.gl/NVaq4

If you search for a term using the search bar at the top of the facebook page, then click on "See more results for ____", you can search for posts by friends or search public posts using that keyword.

MidTxWRX said,
If you search for a term using the search bar at the top of the facebook page, then click on "See more results for ____", you can search for posts by friends or search public posts using that keyword.

Hmm..I never noticed that before. I'll give it a try thanks.

MidTxWRX said,
If you search for a term using the search bar at the top of the facebook page, then click on "See more results for ____", you can search for posts by friends or search public posts using that keyword.

Not as easy as Google+ which is why a lot of us have stopped using FB.

DoomsDayMayan said,

Not as easy as Google+ which is why a lot of us have stopped using FB.

A lot of you? Hmm.

I gave it a try but felt like I was sitting in an empty conference room with the company managers.

Really? This is the answer to Google and Bing? How do most people use Facebook? Mobile you say, as in an app on your smartphone? Hmm, do most people search from Facebook to get answers? Title is sensationalizing.

The thing is though, is that many user's don't want to be found via search, so I suspect there'll be a big outcry from the userbase and Facebook will respond by introducing new/revamping (again!) their privacy controls to allow users to opt-out of "Graph Search"... ...and if enough users do that, it kinda renders the whole Graph Search thing pretty pointless!

so... set your profile to private and don't be found... what was the issue again ?
Most peopel sign up for facebook because they want to be found and want to be connected, and while they may have a private profile, they certainly don't seem to have any issues sharing every little thing in their life with their "friends", So I don't see how anything here is rendered useless or pointless.

Sounds like a wobbly pillar. Wouldn't you already know where your friends are? Can you be so distant that you wouldn't know where they lived??

imachip said,
Sounds like a wobbly pillar. Wouldn't you already know where your friends are? Can you be so distant that you wouldn't know where they lived??

Agreed. What a waste of resources... lol

imachip said,
Sounds like a wobbly pillar. Wouldn't you already know where your friends are? Can you be so distant that you wouldn't know where they lived??

That's just one example. Another would be finding people who like a TV show that you like.

Also, if you're someone like me, who has a large group of friends in multiple areas (I.e. grew up in one city but now live in another) its quite nice. I know which friends live in which areas, but listing everyone in a specific area off the top of my head wouldn't be easy. This makes it easier.

The Teej said,

That's just one example. Another would be finding people who like a TV show that you like.

Also, if you're someone like me, who has a large group of friends in multiple areas (I.e. grew up in one city but now live in another) its quite nice. I know which friends live in which areas, but listing everyone in a specific area off the top of my head wouldn't be easy. This makes it easier.

Someone who actually put some thought into an answer before blindly launching into the typical "i hate facebook" rant. Must be an alien.

imachip said,
Sounds like a wobbly pillar. Wouldn't you already know where your friends are? Can you be so distant that you wouldn't know where they lived??

Many of us do have distant friends and acquaintances on Facebook. It's likely we may still know where most, if not all, of them live, but it would have been silly for Facebook to miss that option out of Graph Search heh. Many different search queries can be used; queries about information you're not aware of. What you commented on is just one of many queries.

The Teej said,

That's just one example. Another would be finding people who like a TV show that you like.

Also, if you're someone like me, who has a large group of friends in multiple areas (I.e. grew up in one city but now live in another) its quite nice. I know which friends live in which areas, but listing everyone in a specific area off the top of my head wouldn't be easy. This makes it easier.

IMHO. If you have "friends" in a city you are in... you know who they are. If you're in a city and need to find out which of your friends live there... they aren't your friends they are people who saw a friend request from you and said "meh, why not?"

MrHumpty said,
IMHO. If you have "friends" in a city you are in... you know who they are. If you're in a city and need to find out which of your friends live there... they aren't your friends they are people who saw a friend request from you and said "meh, why not?"

They could be acquaintances or people you haven't spoken to for a while, some of whom may not have appeared in your news feed when they changed city.

Facebook isn't just for close friends who talk regularly. Further, this feature could extend to people one is following, at some point in the future (or, at the very least, mutual followers).

Calum said,

They could be acquaintances or people you haven't spoken to for a while, some of whom may not have appeared in your news feed when they changed city.

Facebook isn't just for close friends who talk regularly. Further, this feature could extend to people one is following, at some point in the future (or, at the very least, mutual followers).


Personally, this just takes being a lurker to new levels. "Acquaintance I haven't spoken to in such a long time I don't know where you live... wanna grab dinner and a movie?" I'm sorry man, but anybody I want to do anything with already knows where I live.

MrHumpty said,

Personally, this just takes being a lurker to new levels. "Acquaintance I haven't spoken to in such a long time I don't know where you live... wanna grab dinner and a movie?" I'm sorry man, but anybody I want to do anything with already knows where I live.

That's you, but different people use Facebook differently. I've ended up meeting up with old friends and acquaintances whom I would have lost touch with if it wasn't for Facebook.

There was a girl I hung around with for a couple of years at school whom I hadn't seen for 7 years. But last year, I moved to the same city as her. We found out we were both now living in the same city, through Facebook, and we've met up quite a few times.

If it hadn't been for Facebook in the first place, we wouldn't have even been connected anymore because there was no way to stay in touch (and we weren't "close friends"): I'd since had different phones with different numbers and so had she.