Graph Search is different than more traditional web search because it is designed to answer a question, said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the announcement, not just links to answers. Users can search for people, photos, places, and interests to determine things such as “my college friends living in San Francisco” or “nearby friends who like Game of Thrones” for a viewing party, for example. Results are also ranked by relevance to the user, with close friends showing up as top results.
The search function will allow users to more easily dig through all the friends, data, and content that has been shared with them via Facebook, and it will be privacy aware, only permitting searchers to see what their friends have posted or what is made public by other users.
“When Facebook first launched, the main way most people used the site was to browse around, learn about people and make new connections,” the company said in a press release about the feature. “Graph Search takes us back to our roots and allows people to use the graph to make new connections.”
During the announcement, Zuckerberg, Tom Stocky and Lars Rasmussen, who developed the feature, demonstrated how to use Graph Search for dating, recruiting, and commercial uses, with restaurants as an example. Because Graph Search can bring to light photos of users that had previously been hidden from a user’s Timeline, Facebook is also offering tools and resources to help users understand the privacy implications.
A search function was one of the rumors floating around after Facebook announced its event last week. The media predicts Facebook will work to compete with Google in helping individuals find information and answer questions.
This is the latest news to come out of the social networking site and yet one more thing to keep track of in the constantly-changing social media landscape. Here is a handy guide, keeping you up-to-date with your favorite (and soon-to-be-favorite?) social media sites.