graph search


Recently, Facebook announced its latest product called Graph Search.

Mark Zuckerberg made it clear that this is not web search, but completely different:

“What’s more interesting than any of these things (that Facebook currently does) is giving people power and tools to take any cut of the graph that they want.”

What is it?

Let me explain in simple terms.

Here’s a 3 minute video explaining what the Graph Search is all about.

In case you don’t wish to watch the video, here is what the Graph Search is.

Facebook’s mission has long been “making the world more open and connected,” but until now, Facebook’s service has been better at connecting us to our friends.

Facebook knows more about our relationships today than anyone.

The news feeds and Timeline deliver what we post to people who already know us.  Sharing was about self-expression…offering a digital representation of who we are.  What we shared could end up helping people, but we got a narcissistic boost from all those Likes and gained social capital in the process.

Facebook gives us tools to map out our relationships with people and the things we care about.

Facebook calls this map the graph.

Zuckerberg explained that the difference between web search and Graph Search is that “Web search is designed to take any open-ended query and give you links that might have answers.”

Graph Search is designed to take a precise query and give you an answer, rather than links that might provide the answer.  For example, you could use as Graph Search “Who are my friends that live in Long Beach?”

When Facebook first launched, the main way most people used the site was to browse around, learn about people and make new connections.

Graph Search takes us back and allows people to use the graph to make new connections.  It is completely personalized.

The new tool is designed to find specific pieces of content from a precise query, rather than web search, which returns general responses to a general query.  Mark Zuckerberg says, “In order to provide answers in an intuitive way, Graph Search will use a series of filters that look a bit like an advanced tagging system, allowing it to sort things like relationships, interests, and location.

Regular searches will be handled by a new partnership with Microsoft Bing. Bing is often overlooked, even though it has mustered 16.3% of the search market, according to a Microsoft official.  That’s enough to redirect nearly $2 billion advertising dollars a year.

With Graph Search, we combine phrases (for example: “my friends in Long Beach who like Jay-Z”), and we will be presented with results of people, places, photos, or other content that’s been shared on Facebook.

For example, we could use Graph Search for something like this…

We could type in the following:

  • “who are single men in my city”
  • “people from austin who like hiking”
  • “friends of friends who have been to Yosemite National Park”
  • “friends who like Star Wars and Harry Potter”
  • “software engineers who live in Atlanta and like skiing”
  • “people who like tennis and live nearby”
  • “photos of my friends taken in San Francisco”
  • “books read by CEOs”
  • “music my friends like”

I think you get the picture

Facebook is relying on a wealth of social connections to give people the right results once a query has been entered.  The interest search portion of Graph Search is pretty extensive, unlocking all types of content on Facebook.  This is why the company has been collecting your interests for all these years.

While many of the obvious searches involve finding people and things you already know, Facebook also hopes it’ll let people find new interests with an “Extend this Search” feature that opens a search up to related queries.  This will become more useful as it integrates current Open Graph tools and videos; such as, Netflix, especially since Facebook sharing for viewing history has been legalized.

Graph Search is rolling out in “limited beta” for English-speaking users. Says Zuckerberg:

“We’re going to start with a limited roll out of Graph Search now but starting very slowly.  We need to get data from people using it so we can make the data better. But we’re looking forward to getting more people onto it over the coming weeks and months.”

“Before we roll out Graph Search we’re going to put an encouragement on the homepage for people to check out what they’re sharing.  We built a few tools so you can see the photos and information that will be in Graph Search.  You can bulk untag things for the first time.”

If you are interested in getting involved with Graph Search, Click Here to get on the waiting list.

For now, it’s web-only and includes a limited subset of actions, with no Open Graph actions (like song listens) or Posts available, though they’ll arrive in the coming months along with more languages and mobile access.  Facebook also recognizes the privacy implications of the tool saying that, “you can only see what you could already view elsewhere on Facebook.”

I hope you found this explanation of Graph Search helpful…

Thank You,


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