Facebook GraphSearch – Say Whaaaattt?

By Anna @BubbleJobs

Whilst you’ve been busy desperately trying to trot out horse-meat related puns (*drumroll please*), the nerdlings in Palo Alto at Facebook HQ have been busy launching their latest revolutionary techy tool… which has now rather imaginatively been named Facebook ‘GraphSearch’.

After great deliberation with SEO Amy, we were both left in a state of flux over what GraphSearch actually is and how useful it’s actually going to be. SO… I thought I’d do some more digging in an attempt to tackle the latest Zuck philosophy and asked our lovely Twitter following for their thoughts.

What is GraphSearch?
The basic premise of the brand new Facebook feature is to allow users to dive into a vast amount of stored information about them and their network of friends, easily.  It’s essentially a REALLY, REALLY, REALLY advanced Search bar. It’s fundamentally different from a web search since its emphasis is on data collated by your Facebook history and relating to those within your wider network.
The best way to explain it is through example. For a gamer, he or she might wish to find someone to play Game of Thrones with that lives locally, for example. If they turned to GraphSearch, they could soon be connected with fellow local Thrones fanatic etc….

Our first initial reaction to ‘GraphSearch’ came from Sam:

Tweet SAM

‘Confusing’ and ‘Unnecessary’ are certainly indicative of popular opinion… although perhaps this is because it’s in its infancy stages.  Zuck believes the function is a ‘multi-year’ process that will change over time in response to user experiences. Perhaps the complexity of what the Facebook boffins are trying to achieve confuses us mere mortals, making us doubt its capability.….

A further hesitation to the GraphSearch lies in issues of privacy. Edward remains skeptical:

Tweet ED

There will be many that will squirm at the idea of having their face come up when someone searches for ‘single women near me’.  If people want to be found in that way online, surely they’d just sign up to eHarmony? The Californian team have advised that “there actually isn’t any information being exposed in this that wasn’t already available on Facebook in certain ways.” I’d like to draw your attention to the ‘certain ways’ part – it wasn’t so long ago that PRIVATE inbox messages accidentally starting appearing on timelines right…. ?

On issues of privacy (even as a Social Media Manager Bookface fanatic) I’m inclined to agree with Edward in that I too feel somewhat cagey as to what content we might find re-surfacing in these data searches….

If you’ve been lucky enough to have been granted access to the GraphSearch as one of the limited few, please do get in touch below or tweet me over @bubblejobs – I’d love to hear your thoughts so far!

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