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July 8, 2013

Facebook Takes Graph Search Public

Feature Rolling Out Beginning Today for Those Using Site in American English

Facebook’s Graph Search will make its grand debut for U.S. English users today, nearly six months after the feature was announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The social network told ABC News “several hundreds of millions” of users will finally receive access to Graph Search this week, after half a year of testing. The tool, which entered beta Jan. 15, was tested on a small group of the network’s English-speaking members.

“Everyone using U.S. English should start seeing their search box automatically updated,” Facebook said in a blog post.

Zuckerberg, at the January launch, described Graph Search as being very different from a traditional Web search. While Web search offers generic results based on the searcher’s keywords, Graph Search combines user’s phrases to give personalized results.

For instance, using Graph Search, a user can type in queries like: NFL fans who live nearby? Photos of Melbourne, Australia? Friends who live in New York? Good Italian restaurants in Chicago? and get answers based on his or her social circle.

“Graph Search results are personalized and unique for everyone, based on what has been shared with them,” Facebook said. “For example, if you search for ‘Photos of San Francisco,’ you’ll see photos your friends took there and shared with you, as well as Public photos. This means if someone else does the same search, they’re going to see different results because they have different friends, and different photos have been shared with them.”

Graph Search will appear as a bigger search bar at the top of each page. When a user makes a query, that search not only determines the set of results, but also serves as a title for the page. Users can edit the title to create their own custom view of the content they and their friends have shared on Facebook.

Facebook image

Facebook image

The social network said user feedback has led to four main upgrades to the new tool over the past few months:

● Speed — Graph Search is now faster both at suggesting potential searches and displaying results;
● Query understanding — Graph Search understands more ways of asking questions;
● Results — Graph Search does a better job at showing the most relevant. results first;
● Interface — The search box is easier to see and use.

As Graph Search rolls out, a notice will pop up on the home page of Facebook members to remind them about how to control what they share and with whom.

“This is just the beginning. We’re currently working on making it easier for people to search and discover topics, including posts and comments,” the blog post said. “We’re also working on getting mobile Graph Search ready.”

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