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article imageFacebook unveils Graph Search, steps up battle against Google

By David Silverberg     Jan 15, 2013 in Internet
Today Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed details about a new type of search engine on the popular social network, allowing users to find simple answers to questions about their friends.
If you ever wanted to know who among your friends likes Star Wars or took a photo of London, then the new Facebook Graph Search could be your go-to service.
Today Zuckerberg took the curtain off the souped-up search tool, saying it's meant to provide users with a "precise answer" rather than a link to an answer by leveraging the data already present on its site.
Facebook says Graph Search focuses on four main areas -- people, photos, places, and interests. For instance, in the search field you can receive results on queries such as “friends who live in my city,” “people from my hometown who like hiking,” “friends of friends who have been to Yosemite National Park,” “software engineers who live in San Francisco and like skiing," and much more.
For photos results, you can learn about “photos I like,” “photos of my family,” “photos of my friends before 1999,” "photos of my friends taken in New York," for example.
Screenshot of Facebook s Graph Search in action
Screenshot of Facebook's Graph Search in action
Courtesy Facebook
Searching for places can yield a varied range of results, from "Indian restaurants liked by my friends from India," to "countries my friends have visited."
Finally in interests, users can use Graph Search to find “music my friends like,” "languages my friends speak," “strategy games played by friends of my friends," and "books read by CEOs," among hundreds of other queries.
Facebook must've known privacy concerns would be raised with this rollout, and in a blog post the company wrote "We’ve built Graph Search from the start with privacy in mind, and it respects the privacy and audience of each piece of content on Facebook. It makes finding new things much easier, but you can only see what you could already view elsewhere on Facebook."
A YouTube video from the announcement shows Graph Search in action:
Graph Search was launched today but it isn't available immediately to all users. Go here to click on the join Waiting List button to be invited to try the service.
The new product is a direct shot at Google, the search engine leader. "Entering the search market gives Facebook the opportunity to compete with Google and Microsoft by giving advertisers a real use for all the likes and shares they collect on the site," Washington Post writes.
"If Facebook would decide to become serious about search, it would be in a position to give Google a run for its money," said Karsten Weide, an analyst with IDC, a financial research company, as Times of India writes.
How is Facebook looking to monetize Graph Search? "This could potentially be a business over time but for now we’re focused on user experience," Zuckerberg says, according to Forbes.
More about Facebook, Search, graph search, Google, Social media
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