Back in January this year, Facebook launched a new search engine feature called ‘Graph Search’, the tool allowed users to let you search your Facebook network for people, places, photos and interests. Graph Search was only accessible to a selected few, in a very limited beta program. However this looks set to change as reports suggest that the tool will be rolled out to the general public as early as today (in the US at least).
The tool made massive waves when it was initially released because of its revolutionary approach to search. The search engine works on a highly personal level. For example, if I were to search “friends who have been to Glastonbury festival,” Graph Search will scale through all of my relationships and those of my friends to find people who have been to Glastonbury. It then displays these results alongside relevant content such as pictures and videos that they may have. The fact that Graph Search operates in this way illustrates a more personalised way of searching compared to search results from Google or other search engines.
The nature of this search excited many because of how we as people research things; we are more likely to take the advice or recommendation of a friend when it comes to looking at holidays or restaurants than we are of the first result from a search engine.
Although some have raised privacy issues with this new type of search because of its depth of access, Facebook is naturally doing everything it can to ease doubts that could make users uncomfortable with their information being shared by providing a guide to checking your settings.
Additionally, many have argued that Graph Search is still far from being perfect because (as of yet) it can’t find information in status updates, nor can it use data from third-party apps such as Instagram. However, whilst there is some way to go in developing Graph Search, it does have some great features and has a lot of potential, particularly for brands.
Image courtesy of عبدالإله بن محمد الشمري Facebook-logo Wiki Commons under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license