Facebook’s New Graph Search Rolls Out

Image via Flickr/ Robert Scoble

Facebook is officially launching the Graph Search feature today, which was initially announced in January this year.

Graph Search will replace the current search bar and offer more advanced features. It is currently only available on the web version of Facebook, but the mobile version is in the works.

Facebook describes the new search engine, available for the US audience, by saying, “Graph Search results are personalized for you, just like News Feed is unique to you. For example, if you search for Photos of Tokyo, you’ll see photos friends took in Tokyo and shared with you, as well as Public photos related to Tokyo.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in January, “Web search is designed to take any open-ended query and give you links that might have answers. Graph Search is designed to take a precise query and give you an answer, rather than links that might provide an answer,” he said.

This new search engine has presented concerns over privacy issues, however. With such open search capabilities, older undesirable content may be accessed. It’s important for users to check privacy settings as the feature rolls out.

Tom Stocky, a lead Graphic Search engineer, told ABC News, “Privacy is something, of course, we care a lot about, and so from the very beginning we made it so that you can only search for the things that you can already see on Facebook.”

As Graphic Search becomes more widely adopted into peoples’ Facebook profiles, it’s important to spend some time going through your privacy settings. Make sure your default preferences are only viewable by friends, and it’s worth taking a few minutes to go through the things you “Liked” on Facebook—specifically pages. You may want to unlike pages that you liked a while ago and may seem inappropriate now. Also browse through photos and delete the ones you aren’t so happy about.

So how does Graphic Search work, exactly? When you sign up for Graphic Search, you’ll be given a tour of the new feature. You can then start playing around with the feature, asking questions about friends and even yourself. You can ask about what restaurants your friends recently visited or what type of music your friends listen to. You can figure out whether or not anyone has been a certain museum or location—the possibilities are endless and as easy as any other traditional web search engine.

Graphic Search is also integrated with Bing; if you can’t find results via Facebook’s engine, it will attempt to find it on the web.