Once again Facebook is ready to change the way we search for people and things. Their latest offering comes in the form of ‘Graph Search,’ which aspires to make user search more comprehensive. Not like it’s planning to replace Google, or even replicate it, but from the already existing graphs, it will help users to find connections with people, places and things more easily.
The things you can search on Graph Search are personalized items, the answers of which cannot be found on search engine. For example, you might want to see all the pictures you’ve ever liked at a particular place, or say you’re visiting a city next week and want to catch up with all your friends in that city, all you have to do is search for these questions on Facebook. Write simple queries in the Graph Search like ‘all pictures I liked,’ ‘my friends who’re in city XYZ this week’ or ‘cafés my family has visited,’ and your screen will generate personalized answers for you.
The program is not yet out in full flesh, and is available in a limited beta program. It’s a teaser for the kind of plans Facebook has for the future.
The Facebook team is working on the concept of what is called semantic search. In simple terminology, it means improving the accuracy of a search by understanding the user’s intent and the contextual meaning.
For example, you have to search Facebook for black coffee. A normal search on Facebook will display results with black coffee, used as a keyword. It will give a list of pages, persons, profiles with black coffee. But, what if you’d like to know which friends like black coffee? Or which of your friends has updated a status about black Coffee? Which cafes have been liked by your friends that serve black coffee? The list of questions can just go on.
Earlier, Facebook was a dumb searcher; it would have answered none of these questions. But, with the help of Graph Search Facebook generates personalized options for everything you search. So, if you type Black Coffee, the research will give you several options like:
- People who like black Coffee
- My friends who like Black Coffee
- Photos of black coffee
- Black coffee
- Black coffee with cream
So, it is clear that while keyword search has been helping users find what they want for a long time now, the way ahead is generating answers in accordance to their interests and behavior.
Facebook gives you an option on the right hand of the page, as ‘Refine this Search.’ It gives your categories like gender, relationships, hometown, school, friends, and more to further bring down your search to the specifics you’d like.
Beside this one can find local businesses, hot topics from friends, and much more with the help of this evolving technology. There are still plenty of areas where the technology has to show its bright colors.
For one, pages with maximum likes are still given more importance, and show up on the top of list of searched items. This means that optimizing your Facebook content, and engaging more and more users is the only way out. Status updates are still idle sources for Graph Search that may have great potential if tapped.
And, the last and somehow most important thing to remember is that Graph Search will not useful if your privacy settings are private., because you will remain undiscovered by it.