Facebook Graph Search Function Rolls Out to All US Users


Posted on: July 8th, 2013 by ABC News No Comments

Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Get ready for your Facebook search bar to start looking a little different. Starting Monday, Facebook will begin rolling out the advanced search feature it announced earlier this year to all users in the United States.

Called Graph Search, the tool allows users to conduct more advanced searches — like “Restaurants in New York City my friends like” or “photos of my friends before 1996″ — and get detailed results.

It will be a few weeks before everyone who uses Facebook with the “US English” setting will have the new feature, but several hundreds of millions of people will get it this week, the company told ABC News.  And after more than six months of user testing and feedback, Facebook said it believes the product is ready for the masses.

“Over the past few months, tens of millions of people have helped improve the product just by using it and giving feedback,” Facebook says in blog post, which will be published on Monday morning.

The improvements range from the speed of search to accuracy.  Now when you begin typing in a search it will begin suggesting more relevant potential searches.  Additionally, the company says it can better understand what people are searching for and will display the most relevant results first.

The tool searches for people, photos, places and things your friends “like.”  It is working on making posts or status updates and comments searchable.  The mobile version is also still in the works.

Facebook’s goal is not to replace Google, though.

“Graph Search isn’t Web search.  We aren’t duplicating what Bing does and what Google does, but rather we are making things easier for people to find on Facebook,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said when asked about the search function at the All Things D conference earlier this summer.

But making all of Facebook more easily searchable does have privacy repercussions.  While your information is only searchable and visible to those whom you have shared it with in the first place, the new tool does make it much easier for your information to be resurfaced by those people. 

As such, Facebook will remind all users about how they can control what they share and who they share it with.  A small alert will pop up over the privacy tools area in the upper right hand side of the page when users get the new tool.

“[Privacy] is something, of course, we care a lot about, and so from the very beginning we made it so that you can only search for the things that you can already see on Facebook,” Tom Stocky, one of the lead Graph Search engineers, told ABC News when the tool was first previewed in January.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio



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