At an event on the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, California, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg introduced a new product. It’s called Graph Search and it appears to be Facebook’s first attempt at competing directly with Google.
Zuckerberg made it clear Facebook doesn’t consider Graph Search to be the same thing as web search. “We are not indexing the web,” Zuckerberg said. “We are indexing our map of the graph, which is really big and constantly changing.”
In other words, it sounds like Facebook wants to make it easy for its users to search through the mass of data about the things their friends have liked, the comments they’ve posted, the places they’ve checked in and basically every other piece of content they’ve submitted to Facebook while logged in (either on purpose or not).
Zuckerberg noted that Graph Search is “privacy-aware,” a deliberate nod to the growing number of Facebook users who are concerned about privacy and who owns the data they upload.
“Graph Search is designed to show you the answer and not link to answers,” said Zuckerberg.
Graph Search will use filters to allow users to ask questions like, “What TV shows do my friends like?” and “Show me photos of my friends in 2010.”
Users can also search for people outside of their network. For example, a man could search for friends of friends who live in Chicago, like Star Wars and are single. That man would then see a list of all of them (provided they have their privacy settings configured in a such a way to show up in the results).
“Graph Search is a powerful recruiting tool,” said Zuckerberg.
The product is still in beta, Zuckerberg admitted, but it sounds like Facebook has big plans for this product — in fact, the traditional blue bar at the top of the site has reportedly been replaced with a search bar.