Facebook announces Graph Search

Written by David Somerville - 15 Jan 2013

After a week or so of speculation from the social media industry and tech press over exactly what Facebook would be announcing at it's press conference today, we've just heard from Mark Zuckerberg that it's called 'Graph Search'.

Facebook Graph Search Screenshot Movies My Friends Like

Talking from his California HQ, Zuckerberg revealed this new feature which according to Facebook  " a new way for you to find people, photos, places and interests that are most relevant to you on Facebook."

Graph Search is in Beta for only English US users and it will then be rolled out slowly across other language users, plus mobile platforms.

We will report more on this so watch this space, but in the meantime here's the official information from Facebook in the form of some FAQs:

What is Graph Search?

Graph Search is a new way for you to find people, photos, places and interests that are most relevant to you on Facebook.What is Graph Search useful for?

Graph Search will help you instantly find others, learn more about them and make connections, explore photos, quickly find places like local attractions and restaurants, and learn about common interests like music, movies, books and more. All results are unique based on the strength of relationships and connections.

What can I search for?

With Graph Search, you can search for people, photos, places and interests.

How do I search?

Type your search into the blue bar at the top of the page. As you start to type, suggestions appear in a drop down. You can refine your search using the tools on the right-hand side of the page.

Some example searches include:

· People who like tennis and live nearby

· Photos before 1990

· Photos of my friends in New York

· Sushi restaurants in Palo Alto my friends have liked

· Tourist attractions in Italy visited by my friends

How are you rolling this out?

Graph Search is in a limited preview, or beta. That means Graph Search will only be available to a very small number of people who use Facebook in US English.

How can I get Facebook Graph Search?

You can sign up for the waitlist at www.facebook.com/graphsearch

Does Graph Search change any of my current privacy settings?

No. Graph Search follows your current privacy settings. You can only search for content that has been shared with you.

How do I control what tags, locations and photos can show up about me?

To control tags, photos or posts with locations about you that appear in search, go to your Activity Log.

Facebook also stated that Graph Search will work alongside Web Search (powered by Bing) and point out that these are two different entities: "Graph Search and web search are very different. Web search is designed to take a set of keywords (for example: “hip hop”) and provide the best possible results that match those keywords. With Graph Search you combine phrases (for example: "my friends in New York who like Jay-Z") to get that set of people, places, photos or other content that's been shared on Facebook. We believe they have very different uses.

"Another big difference from web search is that every piece of content on Facebook has its own audience, and most content isn't public. We’ve built Graph Search from the start with privacy in mind, and it respects the privacy and audience of each piece of content on Facebook. It makes finding new things much easier, but you can only see what you could already view elsewhere on Facebook."

You can read more about Facebook's Graph Search in their newsroom.