Facebook unveils social search feature called Graph Search

If you’ve ever wanted to know the most popular TV shows among your Facebook friends who are doctors, or wanted to see all the photos any of your friends have taken in Paris, the world’s biggest online social network has the answer.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a new search feature on Tuesday at Facebook’s first staged event at its Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters since its May initial public offering. Zuckerberg had hinted last fall that a search feature was in the works.

Mark Zuckerberg explains how Graph Search works (Photo Credits: AP)

Mark Zuckerberg explains how Graph Search works (Photo Credits: AP)

Called “graph search,” the new service lets users search their social connections for information about people, interests, photos and places. Facebook says that Graph Search functions very differently from web search. While on the web you would search for ‘rock music’ on Graph Search you could search for ‘My friends in Mumbai who like rock music’ and you will get tailored results of people, photos, events and more on Facebook.

The Graph Search will appear as a bigger search bar at the top of each page. When you search for something, that search not only determines the set of results you get, but also serves as a title for the page. You can edit the title – and in doing so create your own custom view of the content you and your friends have shared on Facebook.

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 allows users to go back to their roots and use the graph to make new connections.

Zuckerberg says the search feature is “privacy aware.” That means users can only search for content that has been shared with them. If you try to search for ‘Images of my friends before 1999’ photographs your friends have shared with you will be available. Users can review their timeline and hide stories they do not want appearing in this search.

Graph Search is available only to a small number of Facebook users now, but users can join the waiting list for Graph Search here.


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