Called Graph Search, it lets users conduct more advanced searches, such as “Restaurants in New York City my friends like” or “photos of my friends before 1996.”
“The tool searches for people, photos, places and things your friends ‘like.’ It is working on making posts or status updates and comments searchable. The mobile version is also still in the works,” reports ABC News.
Graph Search is available to Facebook users with the “US English” setting, but it will be rolled out to hundreds of millions of people later this week. The company took more than six months to test the feature and get feedback.
“Over the past few months, tens of millions of people have helped improve the product just by using it and giving feedback,” Facebook says in a recent blog post.
Facebook explains the search tool is not a Web search. “We aren’t duplicating what Bing does and what Google does, but rather we are making things easier for people to find on Facebook,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said about the search function at the All Things D conference earlier this summer.
While the search tool is more extensive, it does bring up privacy issues for the social media network. The new tool makes it easier for user information to be pulled up again by those they have shared it with. To address the privacy concerns, Facebook says a small alert will pop up over the privacy tools area in the upper right hand side of the page when the new tool becomes available to users.
“[Privacy] is something, of course, we care a lot about, and so from the very beginning we made it so that you can only search for the things that you can already see on Facebook,” Tom Stocky, one of the lead Graph Search engineers, told ABC News when the tool was first previewed in January.
Users concerned about privacy should examine their privacy settings and make adjustments as to who can view their posts and information.