Today Facebook announced the newest service to their highly acclaimed platform. The speculations were great ranging from a Facebook specific phone to a brand new “working” phone application.
The big announcement was the unveiling of Graph Search. As some say, in an attempt to rival search optimization sites like Google and even dating sites like OkCupid and Match, the Graph Search will enable users to search using complex algorithms directly within Facebook itself.
Facebook has received criticism over the years sometimes dealing with major overhauls of the site or services that seem to “barely” work, but this is a type of change the site has not seen in awhile. They are attempting to correct a service that, for many, has not been up to par. Searching Facebook now turns up interesting, if not baffling, results that have little or nothing to do with your queries. The Graph Search should fix these issues.
Say you want to know where your friends like to eat near the Embarcadero in San Francisco. With the Graph Search you can simply type “Where do my friends like to eat around the Embarcadero?” in the Facebook search bar and the results will yield a group of your friend’s faces and the eateries they frequent.
Taking it one step further, in an attempt to rival popular dating sites, according to Facebook, you should be able to type “Who is single around Cupertino?” and theoretically get a list of your friends, and individuals who have low privacy settings.
Which brings up the big question on everyone’s minds… What about my privacy? Facebook will only show your information to the level of security you’ve established beforehand. If you allow only your friends to access your activities, check-ins and likes, then only your friends will pull up those items in search queries. However, if your likes are public, in essence, strangers may pull up your profile next to a specific search query ie. “Who like’s American Idol around Pleasanton, CA?”
This brings up another question… What does this mean for brands? It is unfortunately, too early to tell. Some speculate that you’ll be able to use your personal account to target individuals based on specific topics or brands, which in theory, could be used to a company’s advantage. However, there will be no specific search opportunities for page’s at this point.
The Graph Search should be an interesting and worthwhile feature, we’ll have to wait and see if they open it up for brand and target use eventually.
Sign up for a Beta version here.