Facebook's new tool, Graph Search, could compete with Google
Facebook has introduced a new tool for users to filter images, posts and messages in a way that, according to its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, could transform the way people use the social network. Introducing the tool this week, as the first major product launch since the company's IPO last May, Zuckerberg described it as the "third pillar" of the site, after Biography and News.
The tool will initially allow users to search in four categories - people, places, photos and interests - and will gradually expand to cover all content, said Zuckerberg who stressed that Graph Search is a "beta" version of the product that will be expanded and building little by little over the next few years, and that will evolve depending on how people use it.
Lars Rasmussen, a former Google executive who is now one of Facebook's top engineers, cited the search for spicy food in San Francisco as an example. A search for "restaurants my friends in India liked" revealed a long list. Narrowing down the search to "Indian restaurants liked by my friends in India" yielded another list. He then searched for restaurants in San Francisco that graduates of the Culinary Institute of America liked.
In cases where Graph Search does not show results -something likely at first- the service goes to search, by default, in the Bing search engine, managed by Google's rival, Microsoft.
Industry analysts have long waited for Facebook to develop new ways to leverage its lucrative mountains of data. Its shares rose last week, anticipating that the announcement would involve a search engine.
Zuckerberg noted that negotiations with Google for a possible collaboration have broken down due to Facebook's insistence on greater privacy protection. And he added that the new service will not reveal additional information, but will collect and organize in other ways the information that users have already had access to.
Zuckerberg and other fellow executives showed how users will be able to find a wealth of previously overlooked photos, posts, and likes.
For example: “I want to invite some friends to Game of Thrones,” he noted, “but which of my friends likes Game of Thrones? Graph Search tells me ”.
The tool could help Facebook attract users from Google, Linked-in and dating sites, but Zuckerberg said the priority for now is to improve the experience of existing customers; business applications will be discussed later. There is no date yet for the implementation of Graph Search on mobiles.
Source: The Guardian Technology