Several days ago Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the new search tool in Facebook, called Graph Search. It allows users to use natural language (only English for now) in order to search for people, places, images and interests in your network. If Facebook users have made certain types of information public, Graph Search will be able to incorporate that information as well. In the case when you come empty handed from the Graph Search, data will be delivered by Facebook’s search partner – Bing.
What is important to remember is that Google Search is not going to provide you with new information. It is designed for specific searches – through the information that you and the other Facebook users have shared already.But the revolutionary thing is that it helps you discover that data that has been hard to access.
This seems to be very good news for all the voyeur out there. By using plain english search queries, people can find out things about people, places, photos and entities and get customized results based on the network connections and preferences of every user.
On the other side, Graph Search is going to be limited by the amount of information shared by users and according to their privacy settings. The tool will be more valuable the more likes, shares, posting of photos, check-ins, games and apps, etc every user makes.
Currently, Graph Search incorporates only limited types of information, it can’t search status updates, notes or private messages. In the search options data from Open Graph is currently not included, which so far will miss on a valuable data sets about outside websites and services.
Surprisingly enough, Graph Search has not been rolled on the mobile platforms, with M. Zuckerberg admitting that so far there is no timeline on when that might happen.
With the worldwide rolling of Graph Search users will need to check their privacy settings and establish clear rules who can see what. Additional problems is the ambiguity about the ranking of results and how all of that will be used to bring revenues for the company.
Furthermore from all the demos I’ve seen there is no way to opt-out from being placed in Graph Search nor you can see how people can see your information when using the service.
Somewhat important news was that Instagram1 photos would not be incorporated in the search results for now, which from the recent privacy problems of Instagram seems logical.
For now is too early to tell whether the service will pick up and if users will use it. Would there be inherent privacy problem also will be seen sooner or later, but at least with Graph Search we might get the opportunity to search for valuable information that is now hard to access by any other means than to search every profile separately.
Little is known of how brand pages will be impacted by the new search and if they might get the opportunity to pay for a preferential listing.
- Instagram is owned by Facebook ↩