Facebook is stepping up its game with its newly launched Graph Search feature, announced today at its press event. It will be available for limited preview (or beta) for a few select users. Mark Zuckerburg said that the Facebook team has been working on this new feature for years.
Unlike Google, which spits out pages of links in its web search results, Graph Search will give you precise answers about your personal network. For example, you could ask "how many of my friends like One Direction?" Or you could tell it to find "photos taken at the Eiffel Tower" in public posts.
It's about time Facebook improved its internal search feature, so this kind of announcements makes a lot of sense, but I personally think that Facebook is not totally addressing the big problem that it's currently facing: a waning interest in using it the way we once used it. Not that fixing this issue would be an easy task. The web moves crazy fast, and breaking free from the Internet "fad" trap is probably one of the hardest things that most tech startups face.
I think Facebook has evolved weirdly into this enormous Internet dinosaur that most people check every once in a while because it's there, everyone is still on it for no particular reason other than because it's so mainstream, it's convenient, it's something to look at when bored and it's useful for when you absolutely positively need to connect with someone without a phone number or email address. It's not as cool anymore, but it's certainly not a dead trend. Far from it, actually.
Wherever it's headed, the Facebook trend still really fascinates me. Zuck is working really hard to keep it relevant in our eyes, even in 2013 when a lot of younger people are more preoccupied with newer stuff like Tumblr and Instagram. But making information about our friends more open and more accessible probably isn't the ultimate key to reigniting the Facebook fire that ruled the web back in 2007. I mean, really.
Graph Search will only be available to a very limited number of users in the beginning, but you can sign up for the waitlist here. And although Zuck made it clear that Graph Search is NOT the same as web search, he made sure to also point out that Bing web search is still integrated with Facebook search -- as it has been for several years now.External Links About Facebook Graph Search:
- New Facebook Graph Search gives users power to slice and dice info from friends
- Facebook reveals how its new Graph Search feature works with your privacy settings
- How journalists can use Facebook Graph Search for reporting
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