Facebook is launching an enhanced search system designed to understand queries expressed in regular English. Dubbed as ‘Graph Search,’ the name implies searching for specific criterion within your social network graph. It has the ability to rank your friends according to who you have interacted with the most and reveal your closer friends at the top part of the results page. Using the graph search is a no-brainer. You don’t even have to think of smart key words to get good search results as what is normally done when you use Google. Questions such as “Which of my friends watch ‘American Idol,” and “How many of my friends liked the movie ‘The Notebook” can actually be searched for. With graph search, you and your friends can also come up with a photo popularity contest wherein the photo with the most number of ‘Likes’ wins.
Graph search has the special ability to rank photos according to the people who you had categorized as the most important in your Friends list. Also, if a photo shows a local business and got a thumbs-up from your friends, then it could be the beginning of understanding good businesses that you may need for future use.
Graph search is still in beta form and appears like a big blue search bar found at the top part of your Facebook page. Users are encouraged to either sign up while it’s still in beta or wait for a beta invite in its waiting list.
Tom Stocky and Lars Rasmussen, product manager and engineering manager respectively, stated in the official Facebook blog post that users can combine phrases when searching for photos, places, people and other shared content in Facebook. Users are assured of their privacy since they can only see that they have already seen elsewhere on Facebook. If the search seemed futile, Graph search will redirect users to Facebook’s web search partner which is Bing by Microsoft.
Apparently, earlier negotiations with Google to gain access to Facebook results didn’t materialize. Zuckerberg reiterates that Graph Search is new and available on a limited status. As of the moment, only four areas are covered such as interests, places, photos, and people. With this in mind, it’s clear that Graph search goes in a direction which is very different from where Google is going.