Your time-wasting tactics on Facebook might just have gotten a little extra help, thanks to the new Graph Search feature rolled out today.
With Graph Search, Facebook Inc. allows users accessing the site in U.S. English to search through the posts of friends in their networks for certain search terms. Graph Search, which is now included in the search bar at the top of every Facebook page, allowing users to search for posts, photos, videos, friends, and new users based on keywords.
Facebook is touting this as a way to find people with similar interests, to find photos of a user’s friends in different locations, and to discover new music, restaurants, and other interests that dovetail with a user’s tastes and preferences.
For example, by typing in search terms like “photos taken in Toronto, Ontario of me,” a user can pull up all photos tagged with the user’s name and location within Toronto. But by refining the search with “photos taken in Tokyo, Japan of my friends,” the user can find all of his or her friends’ photos tagged in that city as well. That means different users will get different results, based on their friend lists.
The same applies to “Liked” pages – for example, typing in “my friends who like Harry Potter” will bring up a page of all friends who have liked the page in the past and have listed it as one of their interests.
While Facebook announced it was launching the beta version of Graph Search back in January, this is the first day it has made the feature open to regular users. The new searching function may come in handy for anyone who’s ever been frustrated when scrolling through Facebook pages to find a particular post, and in some ways being able to search through posts seems almost overdue.
The move to Graph Search seems to be one of the latest in a series of Facebook’s steps to make itself more integrated into users’ daily activities. In April, Facebook introduced Facebook Home, a user interface layer that sits on top of the regular operating systems on Android phones. While Facebook Home has gotten mixed reviews, it does encourage users to spend more time on Facebook and to see it as a launchpad for interacting with their friends – effectively, users never really have to log off Facebook.
However, with Graph Search also comes a whole host of potential privacy issues. For example, users are now able to view all the users who have listed the University of Toronto as a place of employment. And while users may feel comfortable with sharing that information with 500 friends, those same users may not have particularly wanted to share that with all of Facebook.
Facebook does have some tips for users on keeping their posts, photos, and videos from cropping up on the screens of strangers working with Graph Search. Users can go to the About tab on their Facebook timelines and choose which information is shared publicly or with friends.
That being said, if a user has had Facebook for years, it may be difficult to go back through all of a user’s past posts to find out what has been shared publicly and what is now set to “friends” only or “only me.”
We have yet to see how users will leverage Graph Search, but one thing is for sure – Facebook creeping may have just reached all-new levels.