We heard that Facebook had something big to tell us today – and so we all started speculating. Is it a phone? Is it a new layout? We couldn’t wait to see what Zuckerberg and his team had waiting for us today. The news was bigger than we expected as Facebook announced that they will be slowly rolling out their latest product: Graph Search. That’s right, Facebook is upping their search game.
So what does this mean for us? Through Mashable’s comprehensive liveblogging of the press event, and Facebook’s dreamy video explaining the functionality of Graph Search – it became quite clear that Facebook is taking the data-rich content of it’s users and compiling it into neat, searchable terms that will be way more accessible than it is now.
Currently, if I wanted to search each and every one of my friends that lives in New York City, there is no easy option – I have to remember who lives in NYC and visit their profile to confirm that they do in fact, live there. Now, Zuckerberg & Co. has made it a smooth process for me to stalk all my friends in NYC by entering the search term “Friends who live in New York City” and having all of their profiles displayed in front of me. Of course, it doesn’t end there.
As you can see in the video, you can search for ‘Bands my friends listen to’, ‘Friends who work at my company and like to ski’ (double whammy!), and so on. Graph Search seemingly brings the already strong community aspect of Facebook to a whole new, personalized level. On one hand, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside knowing I can call up specific data, gain new insights about friends, and recall hilarious posts that are in the depths of my Timeline. On the other hand, it makes me weary of what information will pop up in my friend’s searches.
According to Facebook, your privacy settings dictate what will appear in searches. Graph Search allows you to look up anything that was shared with you, or that you had shared with others, “including public content,”. If you’ve hidden a photo from your Timeline – but not detagged yourself (same goes with posts and location tags), that item will still appear in searches. So now I’m thinking I need to comb over my content to see what I do and do not want appearing. According to Mashable, as Facebook unrolls Graph Search, a notification will appear at the top of your page reminding you to review your content. Phew!
Of course, Graph Search is not limited to just searching through your friends and personal pages. The impact that Graph Search will have for Brands is potentially huge. Community Managers will be able to gain greater insight into their community’s likes and interests. Unlocking the great potential to delve deeper into your community’s preferences can allow you to tailor more meaningful content. Another example provided by Mashable’s liveblog was the potential for cross-brand pollination, as one person pointed out, a search for, “‘Yogurt liked by BMW owners,’ etc.” can be run. The information that you can learn about your audience could yield very interesting developments for brands.
What about normal web search results? Bing is still very much going to be integrated – if you want to do a search for “restaurants in Toronto” Bing will provide the answers. As someone who rarely uses Facebook for anything search related, this is definitely a game changer for me – and I for one, am interested to see how the changes will roll out over the next few months. According to Mashable, Zuckerberg made sure to remind everyone that this product is still in beta.
But, you can still get thee-self over to the FB headquarters and join the waiting list for Graph Search beta today, and check out more about Graph Search. We’d love to know your thoughts about the new product – will you be using Facebook as a search tool now? How do you think this will weigh in on privacy issues? Leave your comment below!