Facebook Announces New Search Function: Graph Search

Today, Facebook announced a new search function that will be slowly rolling out to US English users.

With a search like “friends who live in Boston” or “photos of my friends before 1999,” you can more easily find old friends, new friends, and old content.

“When Facebook first launched, the main way most people used the site was to browse around, learn about people, and make new connections. Graph Search takes us back to our roots and allows people to use the graph to make new connections,” explain director of product management Tom Stocky and director of engineering Lars Rasmussen.

For now, graph search will cover people, photos, places, and interests. It won’t cover content like posts or app actions (e.g., song listens or article reads). To get access, sign up for the waitlist.

Graph search is based on phrases, not keywords like traditional search. It also factors in everyone’s privacy settings, so you can’t see content that isn’t shared with you. Read more information about privacy or control who sees specific content on your activity log (Settings > Privacy Settings > Activity Log).

Here are some examples of searches, from Facebook’s announcement:

  • People: “friends who live in my city,” “people from my hometown who like hiking,” “friends of friends who have been to Yosemite National Park,” “software engineers who live in San Francisco and like skiing,” “people who like things I like,” “people who like tennis and live nearby”
  • Photos: “photos I like,” “photos of my family,” “photos of my friends before 1999,” “photos of my friends taken in New York,” “photos of the Eiffel Tower”
  • Places: “restaurants in San Francisco,” “cities visited by my family,” “Indian restaurants liked by my friends from India,” “tourist attractions in Italy visited by my friends,” “restaurants in New York liked by chefs,” “countries my friends have visited”
  • Interests: “music my friends like,” “movies liked by people who like movies I like,” “languages my friends speak,” “strategy games played by friends of my friends,” “movies liked by people who are film directors,” “books read by CEOs”
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Written by:
Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.
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