At its mystery-shrouded event in San Francisco, Facebook has unveiled Graph Search as a potentially massive new feature to help find relevant results among the photos, likes and other information that users put up on the social service.
Long Live the Social Graph
Unveiled at a recent Facebook event, Graph Search adds context to searching in the social media service. While Mark Zuckerberg is claiming that Graph Search is dissimilar to standard search, the demo the service page gives looks pretty searchy to us. However, the beauty appears to be in the back end, as it ties your search terms like "family," "friends," "restaurants" and "music" into smart tags that will result in the relevant data from your and your friends' content appearing in your results.
Using the search engine, you can divide your social world up into those near and close to you, those wider afield or those who might be of use in the quest for certain information. "Friends who have seen the new Batman movie" for instance might be useful if you're thinking of checking out the Dark Knight.
Searching High and Low
The Graph Search function is currently in beta, and will roll out to users over the coming weeks. It has been under development for a year, with the background database many years in construction. The service will help all users get value from the vast archive of Facebook information that most of us have long stopped thinking about.
As a backstop, there's integrated search via Bing to help refer to the general web for more information. There is far more work for the company to do with the product, and it will be some time before it hits mobile where it could be at its most potent. With plenty more to come from the service, including Instagram integration, expect to hear big things from it, and rival services, in the years to come.