TechHive has a good post up today on what Facebook’s Graph Search (beta) does and what it means to us as users:
How to use Facebook’s Graph Search (and why you would even want to) | TechHive: “Once Graph Search is on, Facebook prompts you to ‘search for people, places, and things.’ Start typing. Graph Search is supposed to recognize natural language and try to guess what you’re looking for, though that feature is hit or miss at the moment. You’ll quickly learn the phrases that will help you get to some sort of result: ‘Friends who listen to Daft Punk and live in San Francisco’ or ‘Friends of my friends who work at TechHive.’ It’s not exactly a conversational way to search.”
I’ve been playing with the service a little and while I’m impressed, I’m also a little spooked by the privacy factor of it. Graph Search indexes just about everything you’ve ever done on Facebook, which might put a lot of people at a disadvantage if they don’t regularly clean up their Likes, etc. I’m guessing a lot of folks will be doing some spring cleaning of their Timelines to hide some things they don’t want to show up in Graph Search when full functionality rolls out to all users.
Nonetheless, the service is looking very intuitive and could be very useful for businesses in the future. I tried a few search terms and the results are pretty solid. For example, if I do a search for “my male friends who live in Spartanburg, South Carolina” (it’s not rocket science but it’s the first thing I could think of), that’s a pretty big demographic (>100 friends) since I’ve lived there for the past 3 years and know people from there:
You can also narrow it down to some other stuff like “my friends who have been to Washington, DC,” that narrows it down to fewer than 100 (makes sense).
Creepy but nifty.
Facebook also has a pretty good video outlining what Graph Search is and what it does:
Strange days indeed.