Facebook took social search to a new level this morning. CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the company’s latest feature, Graph Search, which allows users to use English search phrases to query the Facebook database of likes, photos and relationships.
There is currently no good way to sort through the mountains of data that Facebook users generate each day, but that’s about to change. Graph Search will allow users to use Facebook as an efficient search engine, giving them the ability to find information such as which of their friends like to shop at Target or to find a local restaurant that their friends have liked. Graph Search also makes it possible to find friends of friends with common interests.
So what is the difference between Graph Search and simply typing a search query into Google? Facebook put it like this:
“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.”
The search feature will be available for four areas: places, people, photos, and interests with more features to be added in the future.