Facebook Graph Search - what's it all about?

Facebook Graph Search, you may have more than likely heard about Facebook's new search tool in the past few weeks. It's big news.

What does Facebook Graph Search Do?

Facebook Graph Search is basically a search engine which uses the information from Facebook user interactions as it's database.

You will be able to use the tool to search for things such as;

  • Photo's that I have liked
  • Music my friends like
  • Restaurants nearby that my friends have been to
  • My friends who like photography

It will replace the search and navigation bar at the top of any Facebook Page (which will mean the removal of that unsightly white search box). Your searches will show in a auto-complete search box, and display the most relevant results first, much like Google or Yahoo for example but with a very social twist. The results displayed are based on what people have liked and what other information they have shared.

What about privacy?

Facebook state that;

'With Graph Search, you can look up anything shared with you on Facebook, and others can find stuff you've shared with them, including content set to Public. That means different people see different results.'

But should you be worried about privacy?

Lots of Social Media experts are suggesting that now is the time to review your Facebook privacy settings. If your settings are set to public be aware of the potential threats in keeping your information public. If your privacy settings are set to Friends only, then remember you are still searchable to them.

Facebook have reassured us that they have built the Graph Search with privacy in mind, apparently it will not surface information that is not already publicly available on Facebook and appears to give members control over who is able to view results.

Will it work?

Facebook is making some big assumptions for their search engine to work, at the moment including;

  • what you liked 5 years ago, you still like
  • when you like a page, it means that you would highly recommend this to a friend
  • that when you liked something - you meant it. Some people do like facebook pages for a joke.
  • that you know how to edit your likes - for example you might have loved the music of a band two years ago, but now don't, and don't have the know-how/ time to remove it from your liked pages.

So at the moment it is less of a search engine and more of a 'Like' search.

The Future of Facebook Graph Search

Graph Search is still in it's early days and there is much improvement to be done. However there has already been an article publish on the worries that it may bring, see here.

At the moment Facebook Graph Search is only covering 4 types of search; people, photos, places & interests. The fact that Facebook have started small and modest instead of launching a fully blown web search, has bought them time to practice and who knows maybe their next step will be to complete with the likes of Google?

How do you feel about your Facebook content being searchable?

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