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Facebook Graph Search is here

Facebook Graph Search is here

Facebook Graph Search is here, and its coming to everyone. Looking at Facebook’s history of pushing out updates to users its coming to you whether you like it or not. It might not be now, or tomorrow, or even next week, but take it from me…. its coming. My invite to try out the beta came out a few days ago and i can tell you, absolutely nothing has changed in my life. The reason for this is partly because its a social network, why should my life change.

On the other hand, the Graph Search is a competitive tool to Facebook for it to remain relevant in a world of technological changes. Previously, the kind of information that the Graph Search exposes was next to impossible to find despite it being there. It was previously difficult to find all the lovely pictures your friends tagged you, or all the pictures that you are tagged with a specific friend. Or all your FB friends that support the same soccer team. Ok, you get the drift.

With graph search, its now a breeze. All that information is at your fingertips. What you might want to use that infor for, well, its anybody’s guess. The search bar on top has changed, its now bigger (better maybe?). It changes every time you click on anything, eg if you click a friend’s profile, that name is automatically populated in the search bar and the profile is displayed. Why it works like this now, I’m still as flabbergasted as you are. Notification icons have been shifted to the extreme left, next to your profile picture, which has replaced the name that used to be displayed.

This is the new top bar:

Facebook's new top bar after activating Graph Search

Facebook’s new top bar after activating Graph Search

This is how it used to look before the changes were applied to my profile.

Facebook's old top bar after

Facebook’s old top bar after

Some of the searches one can now perform using Graph Search include a wide array of things, including friends, pages etc.

When having focus, the search bar automatically displays a series of predefined searches which you can choose from without having to come up with your own. After making a selection of a search, the results are displayed in the center and an advanced search displayed to the right for fine tuning your results, for example selecting a specific friend, or specific page and so on.

Facebook Graph Search suggested searches

Facebook Graph Search suggested searches

Search Results page and search refining tools

Search Results page and search refining tools

Search Results page and search refining tools

Although Facebook has always had web search, with search results being returned by Bing, they were hidden and it was difficult to do a simple web search without viewing Facebook results first. This has changed. This time web search has been made more visible directly from the search bar. Typing any search term in the search bar automatically starts populating Facebook results (of course, its an FB search engine). However in the drop down of search results you are presented with an option to perform a direct web search of the term you have typed.

Web search directly accessible from the search bar

Web search directly accessible from the search bar

Performing a web search, return web search results powered by Microsoft’s Bing.

Web search results on FB

Web search results on FB

Facebook Graph search is still in beta. Its most likely coming to the masses in the near future. Whether people will consider it useful is another thing altogether. Obviously FB wants you to use it and remove people’s dependency on Google. But with the limited type of searches you can perform on graph search, then its going to be Google only for a very long time before people even start thinking of using Facebook search to look for assignment questions and answers.

It looks cute, changes FB in seemingly good ways. But as a colleague of mine said, if it cant help me search for all my friends that sent me annoying game invites, then it still has a long way to go. Since its in Beta I’ll give it benefit of doubt and hope it improves.

 

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