Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Facebook Announces Graph Search, Lets You Search Complex Connections

Facebook held a media event today at their headquarters in Menlo Park, CA for the press to come and see "what [they're] building." There, they announced a new feature they call Graph Search which will start rolling out soon. The feature will let users search for queries such as "friends of my friends in Switzerland who like hiking" or "restaurants my friends like" and receive personalized search results.

Graph Search will let you traverse the trillions of connections Facebook's "Social Graph" has between people, places, businesses and brands through search queries.

Graph Search beta starts today, January 15, and users can join a waitlist and hope they'll get it soon at

The first version of Graph Search focuses on four areas: people, photos, places and interests. Here are some of the example search queries from the press release:

  1. People: "people who like things I like", "people from my hometown who like hiking"
  2. Photos: "photos of my friends before 1999"
  3. Places: "Indian restaurants liked by my friends from India", "restaurants in New York liked by chefs"
  4. Interests: "strategy games played by friends of my friends", "books read by CEOs"
Graph Search will be available to very few people in US English only for now. It will follow your current privacy settings as well. The only things that are returned as results are the things you can view anyway (such as things shared with you, photos public or otherwise visible to you etc.).

I don't think the feature will be extremely accurate at all times, since not all content and people on Facebook are as connected in the Social Graph as they can be. For instance, not every single one of my friends lists their entire education history, place of employment, interests etc. Even my interests are not always very up to date. 

There is an official video in the official press release linked at the bottom of the article and on the Graph Search page, where you can join a waitlist for the limited release.