Facebook has just kicked off its highly anticipated “come and see what we’re building” event, and it’s first big announcement of the day is its new search tool. It’s not necessarily a web search per se, but a graph search, capable of crawling all of Facebook’s data.
It will help you answer questions like: what are some things my friends like, what kind of music are they listening to, what about places my friends have been to or liked and much more more. We have more details on Facebook’s new search tool after the fold…
The tool itself is called “Graph Search,” and it’s a new way to search through Facebook’s massive amount of photos, people, and connections. It’s designed to find results from a precise query, as opposed to a web search, which returns general results to a general query.
“Web search and graph search are really, really different,” Zuckerberg explained. In order to provide answers in an intuitive way, Graph Search uses a series of filters that look a bit like an advanced tagging system, allowing it to sort things like relationships and interests.
The tool will also handle typical web searches though, thanks to a new partnership with Bing. Microsoft’s search engine will supplement Facebook’s results with data that cannot be found in the graph, meaning things like weather, music results, breaking news, etc.
It’s an interesting move, to say the least, as it completely takes Google out of the equation for Facebook’s search tool. And given that the social network has somewhere in the neighborhood of a billion users, it’s sure to be used by hundreds of millions people.
As far as privacy goes — a big issue with Facebook’s critics — Mark Zuckerberg says that the search tool is privacy-aware, and it will only return search results that have either been shared with you, or are marked as public, meaning they’re available for all to see.
Graph Search is only web-based for now, and will be rolling out very slowly, starting today with a limited beta for English-speaking users. If you’re interested, you can sign up for the wait list by clicking here.
So, what do you think about Facebook’s new search tool? Good idea?