Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Facebook Graph Search – Are You Ready? Big Brother is Watching You.

Image courtesy of Facebook Screenshot
Facebook unveiled Graph Search, the latest approach to search for information on its social networking platform. The new functionality, i.e. "graph search" gives users the ability to search within their own social graph for specifics while asking questions in English – just like Apple’s Siri minus the voice command (which I’m sure is in the works somewhere at Facebook Central).

You can ask, “Which of my friends work in legal marketing, which of my friends live in Doylestown or which of my friends are lawyers?” and you will get results based on who you interact with the most and the people that meet the question criteria. You can then go so far as to say, “Which of my friends are single, which of my friends were born in 1959 or which of my friends went to Drexel University?” (Yes, I went to Drexel and no, I was not born in 1959.)

Sample Facebook Graph Search Results

Facebook was kind enough to run a sample graph search for me showing me other people in my network who live in the same hometown as me. Good thing that my husband was at the top of that list. Can you imagine if he showed up living somewhere else?! And a shout out to my friends, Natalie Wi and Maria Martino Evans ... you showed up in my sample search too. 

This new search functionality is only available in limited beta right now but I suspect that like all changes to Facebook, the company will roll it out publicly when they feel like it and there will be little ability to opt-out of having people search your content for things like, “Show me all photos taken at the beach.”

Since I travel quite a lot for business, I do like the ability to quickly filter a search to ask who lives in the city of my destination. I’m also thinking that this will be useful for planning family vacations. Recently, I asked, “Has anyone been to Yellowstone? Seeking suggestions for a family vacation.” With the new graph search, I could just say, “Have any of my friends been to Yellowstone?” Then, I could follow up directly for advice from others.

Needless to say, Big Brother is watching you! How do you feel about it?

UPDATE  2/4/13

I was on a waiting list for Facebook Graph Search until today so I turned it on (for better or for worse).

What I didn't know until using it is how refined your searches can actually be. Take a look at the image below. It's a screenshot of a search for "Friends who went to Widener University" - of course with all of their personal information redacted. I can then search further by gender, relationship, employer, current city, hometown and more. I can think of tons of valuable uses for this - especially for when I travel. Of course, for Facebook, it means more targeted advertising and higher revenues. For the rest of us, if we're going to play in the social media sphere, we just have to accept the fact that there's no such thing as privacy anymore.

Facebook Refine This Search Graph Feature

1 comment:

jeremy said...
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