Facebook’s highly anticipated “See what we’re building” event is currently underway at the company’s California headquarters, and the first announcement of the day is Graph Search. What it isn’t, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg stressed, is for searching the Web; instead it indexes all the content that has been shared with you and helps you find new friends as well as old content. As Zuckerberg puts it, “Graph search is designed to show you the answer and not links to answers.”
Graph Search is the next stage in Facebook’s quest to improve the site’s search function – which is questionable at best. Facebook says Graph Search is very different from searching the Web, as it lets you combine phrases to find content which is most relevant to you. However, as it observes both yours and everyone else’s existing privacy settings, it’ll only return content which has already been shared with you, or is publicly available on Facebook. For this reason, Graph Search can help you find new people to connect with, based on your hobbies and interests.
For example, if you wanted to find a golf partner, you could search Facebook for a golfer who lives nearby. Or, if you want recommendations of places to visit, you could search for restaurants which have been previously Liked by your friends. Initially, Graph Search will concentrate on four areas: People, photos, places, and interests. The roll out will continue, however, to include a much broader scope of data.
Graph Search is starting its life as a beta product today, and Facebook warns the “Roll out is going to be slow,” as it wants to observe how people use the service, then update it accordingly. To be in with a chance of getting access to Graph Search quickly, you can sign up here.