This week Facebook have launched the beta version of their new ‘Graph Search’. Aimed at recreating the social connectivity that brought us all to FB in the first place, the search will help us find like-minded souls amongst our Facebook friends. Here are three things about the new functions that you need to know.
The new Graph Search that Facebook has announced this week gives you the option of searching for shared interests or activities amongst your friends’ profiles, allowing you to make connections that might otherwise pass you by. You can get a video overview of the new function in FB’s own News Room, on the Graph Search page or in All Facebook’s summary.
So what do we need to know about this beta launch?
Mashable points out that the new search facility may cause some privacy problems for anyone who hasn’t tagged as ‘private’ images or posts that now appear in the search results.
FB has said that it isn’t going to tweak the overall privacy options again, but it remains to be seen they change their minds when Graph Search gets rolled out more widely.
2. Shared interests
To find people with similar likes and interests, Graph Search allows you to use one of the built-in filters or use a free-text query… FB’s own examples run to things like ‘find my friends who like hiking’ and (bizarrely) ‘restaurants in New York liked by chefs’.
I am hoping that we will also be able to search for ‘my friends who support charity’ or ‘charities my friends like’. If this does turn out to be possible, then it makes collecting those Likes from people visiting our organisation’s FB pages all the more important.
3. Connecting with journalists
In making Graph Search an attractive tool for journalists, The Wall Blog points out that FB may be trying to compete with Twitter as a source of breaking news. By being able to search more precisely for individuals whose profiles announce they work for certain companies, or mine photos of current events, FB appears to hope that journalists will make use of what The Wall Blog calls ‘a “Rolodex” of 1 Billion Potential Sources’.
To try and even things up a bit, FB also stresses that us ordinary folk will also be able to locate journalists who might be interested in the stories we have to tell. Read some more implications for journalists in All Facebook.
If you want to sign up for Graph Search in beta, visit Facebook here (scroll to the bottom of the page for the sign up option).