Facebook unveils new social search feature

Marion Renault

 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a new search feature for the site Tuesday morning. The service, Graph Search, will essentially allows its users to search for interests, places and photos among their Facebook friends.

For example, users will be able to search for photos friends have taken in London, find out who shares a dual love for cupcakes and Breaking Bad, or even discover which of their friends speak Scandinavian.

Until now, Facebook users have been unable to search by location or interest. The CEO claimed Graph Search offers a completely unique experience to any other service out there.

"This is one of the coolest things we've done in a while," Zuckerberg said. "It's the kind of product we love to build at Facebook: A big technology problem and big social problem."

Responding to Facebook’s common privacy issues, Zuckerberg announced the feature was privacy aware and limited to the content that has been shared with each individual user.

Zuckerberg’s own sister, Randi, had her own issues with Facebook privacy in December when one of her private pictures went public.

The service has been made available only a few hundred of Facebook’s billion users but will roll out progressively in the coming months. According to the Star Tribune it will likely take over a year for it to be available for all of Facebook's audiences.

For now, the search feature is restricted to English audiences and is only available on Facebook’s website.

Graph Search is likely a grab for more of Google’s traffic and advertisers by making use of the kind of personal data that Google has been unable to collect.

It capitalizes on what is most important to users, like recommendations for restaurants and entertainment, common interests, and photo galleries of friends and family.

 

Zuckerberg said the service, Graph Search, has been in the works for years. News first emerges about Graph Search emerged in 2010.

Following the announcement, Facebook’s stock dropped 50 cents to $30.45, down nearly 20% from its original IPO price.