In the Social Media Realm, Get Used to Facebook Graph Search | IamMitul

By on August 20, 2013

As it turns out, Google’s competition may not come in the form of another stand-alone search engine like Bing, but rather through a form of social searching. Instead of looking for information, people may be looking more for commonalities with their friends or recommendations in the form of endorsements by acquaintances.

Essentially, Facebook is trying to re-vamp their search function, which is notoriously ineffective at times. The Graph Search feature will incorporate some Bing results, which could be bad news for Google as well, even though Facebook is not designing Graph Search to be a “Web search,” and are very open about that distinction.

What is Graph Search?

Essentially, it makes everything that has been shared with a user on Facebook searchable. This can make arranging social events a lot easier, as someone could search for all of their friends who share a certain interest. You can also search for friends of friends in a given area.

So perhaps you’re travelling for business in a city where you have no friends, you could search for friends of friends in Tucson, or wherever you are, and see if there are any results. You should be able to search any public information on Facebook or that which is shared with you.

Likes, for example, may be something else you can utilize. For example, you may be able to see if any of your friends like a certain type of WordPress premium theme, thus giving you an endorsement before you go ahead and make a purchase.

How it Differs from Google or Regular Search Engines

On some level there will be similarities between any leading search functions, but Facebook is hoping Graph Search works a lot differently. For example, they want it to answer natural language questions rather than provide lists of information. This may mean that search queries can be more conversational, whereas people can get very different results on Google depending on how they phrase a search term.

Privacy and What Can Be Searched

There is a pretty wide range of what can be searched by Graph Search, including public posts, people, pages and events. Users can also search groups, applications, places and ways that people interact with different things. For example, check-ins or tags in photos can be searched. So can objects with location information attached, as can photos.

The opportunities that can arise from these types of searches are pretty interesting and endless, so it’s something worthy of being watched by social media experts and those who make their careers by working with Facebook and other social media.

It’s certainly an area where an expertise needs to be developed.

Some of Facebook’s Favorite Uses

Since Graph Search is so new, people are still learning about it and adjusting to it. That’s why a story that Mashable recently published was very interesting, as it provided a breakdown of some of the employees’ of Facebook on what their favorite uses of the new feature were.

This is a good jumping off point for social media experts to dig around a little bit and strategize about how to use Graph Search to their benefit.

Some of them included Photos of X, my friends, people named X who live in Y and friends of X or photos of/by X. As you can see, these terms can be used for anything from finding someone you met through a friend or who you met in a certain place to locating your friends in a certain location or with certain interests.

It’s hard to project exactly where Graph Search is headed and how useful it will be to social media marketers, but it is definitely one of the hot new things to keep an eye on in 2013.

About Mitul Narula

Mitul Narula is a Student, blogger, and Web Designer. Connect With him on Twitter | Facebook| Google+

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