Archive | January, 2013

Facebook Introduces “Graph Search”

16 Jan

(This blog originally appeared on Digitaria’s website.)

The social media world is buzzing this morning with the recent news of Facebook’s search update, Graph Search. As Facebook puts it, this is a “new way to navigate connections and make them more useful.” It’s a way to make new connections through your existing ones.

Graph Search allows users to search through a custom view of content that you and your friends have shared on Facebook. Unlike web search, Graph Search matches search phrases (such as “my friends in San Diego that like Mashable”) for results that include people, places, photos and other types of content being shared across your social connections on Facebook.

BUT what really makes this amazing is that Graph Search takes your immediate Facebook network and explodes it outward. Now users will also be able to search for “friends of friends” with common interests. With this, Facebook effectively knocks down the walls between users and their friends’ friends, and extended networks, making Facebook a much larger ecosystem of people you may not know yet, but have similar interest, likes and other common threads.

It may be difficult to visualize right now, but this is definitely also going to benefit brands and advertisers on Facebook. For brands, this opens up the possibility that their followers will have an even greater reach with shared content. For example, if one of brand X’s fans likes its page and then comments on one of its posts, that fan’s content can show up in a “friends of friends who like x” search. Instead of just reaching a fan’s immediate network, brands and advertisers now have the possibility of reach an extended network: friends of friends of fans.

Graph Search roles out to a select few in beta today. According to Facebook’s news release, the first version of Graph Search focuses on four main areas — people, photos, places, and interests:

People: “friends who live in my city,” “people from my hometown who like hiking,” “friends of friends who have been to Yosemite National Park,” “software engineers who live in San Francisco and like skiing,” “people who like things I like,” “people who like tennis and live nearby”

Photos: “photos I like,” “photos of my family,” “photos of my friends before 1999,” “photos of my friends taken in New York,” “photos of the Eiffel Tower”

Places: “restaurants in San Francisco,” “cities visited by my family,” “Indian restaurants liked by my friends from India,” “tourist attractions in Italy visited by my friends,” “restaurants in New York liked by chefs,” “countries my friends have visited”

Interests: “music my friends like,” “movies liked by people who like movies I like,” “languages my friends speak,” “strategy games played by friends of my friends,” “movies liked by people who are film directors,” “books read by CEOs”

If you’re impatient (like me) and too excited to wait for wide release, you can also join the waitlist to try out the new search.

What do you think about this new feature?