Graph Search: Facebook’s New Search Feature

Last week Facebook unveiled Graph Search – their first real attempt at getting into search. Graph Search is still in beta mode, and although you CAN request an invite, the features thus far seem very limited.

In essence Graph Search is a ‘discovery tool’. You might use it to look for restaurants your friends like in London or you could use it to find out what people who play tennis like to read. You might also use it to search for photos of one of your siblings or for a dentist that your friends like/recommend.

Graph Search takes the Facebook values a step further. It’s about finding people who share common interests and it goes back to Facebook’s USP – making your community and your world feel a whole lot smaller by giving you access to information regarding friends, family members and acquaintances.

According to Facebook, Graph Search will respect your privacy – well, where you’ve specified you want it. Anything that you’ve made available only to a few friends or perhaps just yourself, will only show up based on those settings.

Find out more about how it works with this sneak peak:

What does Graph Search mean for you?

If Facebook really does intend to get properly into search (and this is a good first move), you had better make sure you are on it and that your company is on it too. This will be part of how your business gets found and recommended in the future.

If you think about it, it’s a little bit like Google’s Personalised Search as it will return results that are relevant to your community and the people you are friends with rather than returning the same results to everyone.

Now you will be able to look up anything that has been shared with you on Facebook or anything that people have made available to the public without having to go to individual profiles to trawl through comments, photos and likes. Instant access to information.

Is there something slightly creepy about Graph Search?

According to PBS, Graph Search goes beyond the level of providing funny lists and intimate details about friends. Graph Search allows you to search for things like ‘CEOs that like porn’ or ‘women who are single who are Republican’ or… ‘single men who like guns’.

Obviously, the last one is a bit scary given that not everyone has good intentions. Facebook’s fancy new search could become the next networking tool for criminals or terrorists.

It’s these sensitive details that may just change how we view Facebook and how much information we are willing to provide.

Do you really want people to find you with a simple search like ‘single women who like partying who like bar xyz in London’ just because you are listed as single, have checked partying as an interest and have ‘liked’ a particular bar?

Graph Search may just get us to reconsider how much information we make available to the public. It could also do the opposite – encourage people to share more so that they get found in the search results for specific things.

What can  you do?

As an individual member of Facebook, my advice is for you to go back and check your privacy settings. Make sure you are aware of what will be freely available. Use this very helpful manual if you need a little more help with Facebook’s privacy settings.

If you are a business, Graph Search may be your next best friend. Make sure you have got a Facebook Business Page and that you are using it in such a way that you will get followers.

Don’t forget, the Xanthos team is here to offer help if you need it. Feel free to get in touch with us or to find us on Facebook.