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January 16, 2013

The Big Announcement: Facebook’s Graph Search

Leah Van Rooy, Blue Door Consulting, Social Savvy Blog PostAnticipation was high for the big Facebook® announcement today. Media from around the globe were invited to Facebook’s headquarters in California, along with a secondary press hub in London, England. Speculation and rumors can be put to rest now that Facebook has officially unveiled its newest feature called Graph Search.

Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained in the press conference that Graph Search is considered the third ‘pillar’ of Facebook’s social platform. The first pillar is the News Feed (what’s going on), the second is Timeline (who people are) and the third pillar is the newly introduced Graph Search (social search).

This tool allows you to ask questions that in the past you wouldn’t have thought a search engine could answer – What books might I like? Which of my friends in Portland like hiking?

Graph Search is not to be confused with a web search. What Facebook has created will not give you web links as a search result. It will give you ANSWERS: a detailed search of your social graph- which is no small task! The sheer amount of information shared on Facebook is mind-blowing; Graph Search will mine the data for you.

Each person’s search will produce different results, based on the information and privacy settings of your Facebook friends. Results will be sorted by how close they are to the people sharing. 

If Graph Search is unable to provide any answers to your query, Facebook will partner with BING to provide answers through a more traditional web search. This is where some sponsored results and advertising will come into play.

Starting out, Graph Search will focus its efforts on searching people, photos, interests, places and pages for businesses – but Zuckerberg says that that’s just the start. They plan on working on this Facebook ‘pillar’ for years to come, continuously fine tuning it to enhance each user’s experience.  

Today marked the launch of the beta test for this new Graph Search feature – and I am officially on the waiting list. Facebook has said that this new feature is all about adding to the user experience, not an added revenue channel. We will see how this ‘pillar’ develops over time and what opportunities may lie for the social-savvy businesses.

Sources:
Boorstin, Julia. “Facebook’s Big Announcement.” CNBC.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013. <http://www.cnbc.com/id/100380841/page/1>.

“Introducing Graph Search.” Facebook. N.p., 15 Jan. 2013. Web. 15 Jan. 2013. <http://www.facebook.com/about/graphsearch>.