First look: Facebook’s new Graph Search

The social network’s getting even more social.

Facebook's Graph Search
Dating site? Job search engine? Yes, yes and a million other things.

Facebook’s new Graph Search capability was announced today, bringing with it an enormously flexible new way to use the social network’s untold masses of personal data. While it’s still an opt-in beta at this point, Graph Search looks to be an attempt to drastically change the way people use Facebook.

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Facebook's Graph Search
What’s in a Graph?

Essentially, everything. The new technology allows users to create highly detailed queries based on Facebook activity, like “music my friends like” or even “restaurants in London my friends have been to.”

Facebook's Graph Search
What’s in it for me?

You can do a lot with those refined searches, apparently. Graph Search could let you look for a new job, or a new friend or even just a better place to get your pre-work coffee.

Facebook's Graph Search
What’s in it for Facebook?

What’s NOT in it for Facebook? With Graph Search, the social network takes a quantum leap in the analytics and ad targeting possibilities it can offer to advertisers.

Facebook's Graph Search
Credit: Facebook
What’s the catch?

Well, despite Facebook foregrounding its sensitivity to privacy issues in developing Graph Search, it’s still an easy way for someone to delve deeply into your life. “It claims to have built Graph Search with privacy in mind, but Facebook has a mixed track record on this front and is in the habit of pushing privacy to the limits of what is acceptable,” said Ovum principal analyst Eden Zoller.

Facebook's Graph Search
Sounds neat, anyway!

Oh, definitely – but, as we said, you’ll need to wait for the beta, which will only be available to a very limited number of English-language, desktop users. (Mobile and non-Anglophone users will have to wait.) Nevertheless, we’ll be keeping a close eye on reaction to Graph Search.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Credit: YouTube.com

In this video provided by Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook employees discuss the company's new Graph Search technology. The company announced the beta of the new feature on Jan. 15, 2013.