Facebook Unveils Social Search Tools for Users


Facebook has announced a major addition to its social network – a smart search engine it has called Graph Search.

The feature allows users to make “natural” searches of content shared by their friends.

Search terms could include phrases such as “friends who like Star Wars and Harry Potter”.


Founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg insisted it was not a web search, and therefore not a direct challenge to Google.

Earlier speculation had suggested that the world’s biggest social network was about to make a long-anticipated foray into Google’s search territory.


In Facebook’s terms, the social graph is the name given to the collective pool of information shared between friends that are connected on the site.

It includes things such as photos, status updates, location data as well as the things they have “liked”.


Until now, Facebook’s search had been highly criticised for being limited and ineffective. The social search tools will be usable from the blue banner that sits at the top of every Facebook page.


But the company’s revamped search was demonstrated to be significantly more powerful. In one demo, Facebook developer Tom Stocky showed a search for queries such as “friends of friends who are single in San Francisco”.


The same technology could be used for recruitment, he suggested, using the Graph Search to find people who fit criteria for certain jobs – as well as mutual connections.

Such queries are a key function of LinkedIn, the current dominate network for establishing professional connections


In his presentation, Mr Zuckerberg said social or graph search was Facebook’s “third pillar” and stood beside the news feed and timeline as the foundational elements of the social network.

He added that the search system was “privacy aware” and would only return results that users had the right to see.


And that’s it for this week’s IT Focus. Please feel free to send any questions or comments you might have to  itfocusdon@gmail.com


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