Last Tuesday, Facebook announced a new feature that promises to make it easier for users to locate personalized content through search. The new “Graph Search” is an easier way for members to search what they and their friends have shared on Facebook. What’s cool about this is that they use natural language like “People who like cycling and live in Seattle, Washington.”
How Facebook Graph Search Works
Facebook Graph Search will initially focus on four main areas of interest: People, photos, places, and interests. These include user queries such as “Photos of my friends in Palo Alto,” “Restaurants in London that my friends Like,” “Computer programmers who live in Singapore,” and many more.
Users can find people based on things they’ve shared, including interests and profile info. Others can also find photos they have posted or been tagged in, as well as images hidden from Timeline. The Graph Search also allows them to discover places and music through their friends and connections.
Other queries outside of Facebook interests will get results through Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
Varying Search Results from the Web and Considering Privacy
Although the Graph Search will score results from Bing, it will still vary from the Web. That’s because Facebook has its own audience.
In addition, most of the user’s content is private. With the social network’s latest feature, users can look up anything shared with them on Facebook, and others can find stuff that they’ve shared—including content set to Public. Thus, different people will see different results. As stated on the social network giant’s site:
We’ve built Graph Search from the start with privacy in mind, and it respects the privacy and audience of each piece of content on Facebook. It makes finding new things much easier, but you can only see what you could already view elsewhere on Facebook.
As of the moment, Facebook’s latest feature is still in Beta, and is available to some users in a limited preview. For those who would like to try once it is readily available in their respective area, they can join the waiting list. It is currently available in browsers and not as part of Facebook Mobile or apps.
Graph Search will appear as a bigger search bar at the top of each page. When you search for something, that search not only determines the set of results you get, but also serves as a title for the page. You can edit the title—and in doing so create your own custom view of the content you and your friends have shared on Facebook.