Facebook last week announced Social Graph Search, a replacement of the rudimentary built in Facebook search. Graph Search not only makes anything posted publicly in the Facebook world searchable, but also provides context to those searches by understanding the connections between all that data. This allows Graph Search to consist of natural language queries that will allow, for example, searches to go beyond “restaurants in New York” to “restaurants in New York that are liked by my friends (and friends of my friends)”.
It’s certainly much better than the old buil-int search. Graph Search will actually bring up results you’re looking for, and present them beautifully. However for Graph Search to work well, it’s users needs to have a lot of Facebook friends and they need to be very prolific in the businesses that they interact with, beyond simply clicking Like from a major brand to get a discount or coupon, to reflecting a genuine appreciation towards a local deli or plumber. Unfortunately there is so much distrust in Facebook that the immediate responses from most people I spoke to about Graph Search was to check their privacy settings, clean up their ‘Likes’ and cull back the amount of data they are providing the company.
And if you think that’s just paranoia, check out “Actual Facebook Graph Searches“ , a blog that illustrates what Graph Search is capable of – “Married people who like Prostitutes, “Islamic men interested in men who live in Tehran, Iran” (where homosexuality is a crime punishable by death), and “Single women who live nearby and who are interested in men and like Getting Drunk”
If you love Facebook you’ll love this. Otherwise start deleting your LIkes and tightening up your Privacy settings.