The wait is over for Facebook users who have been keen to try out the new social graph features of Graph Search. The new features, some six months in beta, roll out this week for U.S. users, with a wider launch to follow.
Facebook Gets Search, Eventually
Searching within Facebook has been something of an odd-ball experience throughout the service's history. Sure its easy enough to find people or groups, but diving deeper or creating multi-branch searches has never been its strong suit. Which is where Graph Search comes in, announced back in January, this is Facebook's big feature for 2013, rolling out across America from Monday, bringing the features of multiple-term searches, media-specific and location-based information to make Facebook more useful.
Graph Search allows users to find restaurants that their friends might recommend, photos of places that others have taken, suggestions for music, all run through the new Facebook search bar. Or helps you dive back into your extensive Facebook history, so you can find out just who you were with, on what you thought was that memorable trip to Paris.
When Search Graph becomes available the search bar helps users make their first few trips with suggestions before letting them fly free. That's all part of the feedback from the beta, making the whole thing more friendly. Distinctions between friends, other people and categories of object (food, restaurants, music, bands etc.) make it easier to find the desired media or information and if you have the need to track down other ukulele players in the New Orleans area, then this could be the feature for you.
Another Privacy Storm in the Making?
Naturally, Facebook is now on red alert for anything that could make users uncomfortable with their information being shared and there's a handy guide to checking your settings. That won't stop the torrent of media interest when someone is devastated by being outed as a secretive southern ukulele player (or similar).
Remember to adjust your privacy settings if you feel a little uncomfortable about what people could find out about you. For the rest of us, it makes Facebook a little more usable and if you can save your searches or keep the results then it will move the service a little closer to Google's Groups which are becoming increasingly popular. That follows on from the addition of hashtags, to make it a little more like Twitter.
Will using Graph Search make Facebook more relevant to you? Does the new Graph Search worry you? Or, will it remain the friends-and-family site you use, while the real action goes on with Twitter or other services. We watch the arrival of Search Graph with keen interest.