On January 15, Facebook held a media event to announce the release of its latest development: Graph Search. Created as an answer to Facebook’s existing search function, Graph Search promises to revolutionize the Facebook search experience with visually pleasing, intuitive results based on your friends’ connections, likes, and habits.
At the event, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made it clear that Graph Search is very different from your average web search tool. “Graph Search is designed to take a precise query and give you an answer, rather than links that might provide the answer,” he said. Right now, the tool can be used to search for pictures, places, interests, and people. For example, if a Facebook user wants to throw a party and invite people they know from high school, they can search, “Find friends who went to my high school.” If they’re not sure what kind of music to play, they can add, “who like reggae.” Results will automatically populate with data from the friends most interacted with, then sort by friends in common and overall engagement.
Facebookers can harness the power of Graph Search to track down a good sushi restaurant, find a new favorite TV show, or even meet their next special someone. However, with all of this information being processed through a shiny new search engine, what will happen to our privacy? Nothing, promises Facebook. “It makes finding new things much easier, but you can only see what you could already view elsewhere on Facebook,” a company press release states— basically, your existing privacy settings will roll over to Graph Search. A wise move on Facebook’s part— and one perhaps inspired by the recent Instagram uproar.
Even though Graph Search is still in beta, it is already being touted as a competitor for Yelp, dating websites, and even career-focused social networks like LinkedIn. On a company “Notes” page, Facebook targets journalists by positioning Graph Search as “A ‘Rolodex’ of 1 Billion Potential Sources;” at the press demo, Facebook staffers hyped its usefulness for recruiting professionals. If anything, Facebook is selling themselves short by only marketing this mode of use to journalists and recruiters right out of the gate— publicists, models, photographers, and non-profit managers could also make use of Open Graph, just to name a few. Although many people separate their Facebook self from their LinkedIn self, Graph Search could encourage more users to establish profiles for both areas of their life, doubling Facebook’s user base… and advertising base.
While we Mindgruvers aren’t one of the lucky few who have already experienced Graph Search, we’re eagerly awaiting it. Not only does it eliminate Facebook’s oft-forgotten search tool, it furthers the development of intuitive social search tools. Graph Search could prove to be underwhelming, as many digital analysts are already saying, but we’re excited to see how this next wave in social search shakes up Facebook and the Web as a whole.
Fiegerman, Seth. “Analysts Are Unimpressed With Facebook Graph Search.” mashable.com. N.p., 16 Jan. 2013. Web. 16 Jan. 2013. <http://mashable.com/2013/01/16/facebook-graph-search-analysts/ >.
Fiegerman, Seth. “How Facebook Graph Search Could Disrupt Online Dating.” mashable.com. N.p., 16 Jan. 2013. Web. 16 Jan. 2013. <http://mashable.com/2013/01/16/facebook-online-dating/>.
Fitzpatrick, Alex. “What Facebook’s New Graph Search Means for Your Privacy.” mashable.com. N.p., 15 Jan. 2013. Web. 16 Jan. 2013. <http://mashable.com/2013/01/15/facebook-graph-search-privacy/>.
Lavrusik, Vadim. “How Journalists Can Use Facebook Graph Search for Reporting.” facebook.com. N.p., 15 Jan. 2013. Web. 16 Jan. 2013. <https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=543504605661558>.
Olanoff, Drew, Josh Constine, Colleen Taylor, and Ingrid Lunden. “Facebook Announces Its Third Pillar “Graph Search” That Gives You Answers, Not Links Like Google.” techcrunch.com . N.p., 15 Jan. 2013. Web. 16 Jan. 2013. <http://techcrunch.com/2013/01/15/facebook-announces-its-third-pillar-graph-search/>.
Robertson, Adi. “Facebook ‘Graph Search’ mines a billion people with a trillion connections, launching today in beta.” theverge.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013. <http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/15/3878950/facebook-announces-graph-search>.