Thoughts on Facebook Graph Search

We've noticed a few features popping up over the last couple of weeks, discussing the launch of Facebook's Graph Search in beta -- whether they cite examples of how the searching facility can be abused or highlight the opportunities it creates, there's been a lot of buzz around it.

Graph Search is Facebook's new search function. It essentially allows users to find people or businesses by specifying a variety of queries; for example, you will soon be able to search by likes, check-ins and demographic data such as where people live, age, marital status, and even religious beliefs.

This got us to wondering -- how will the search functionality impact the social and search landscape? We asked the Computerlovers to share their opinions.

Lucy, Planner

"Social search is an interesting move from Facebook as it relies on pulling in information from users profiles. Although an anticipated pitfall is that they are relying on users to provide in-depth, accurate information on their profile -- as people rarely do this, the social graph is likely to be incomplete.

Furthermore, the search only pulls in information from Facebook. My initial opinion is that it would be better if they tied this with other online resources to provide a more integrated, accurate social search. This would still rely on people sharing more on online profiles, but would certainly strengthen results. I doubt Facebook will roll this out for a while but I wonder if we'll see more partnerships in the future...

Personally, I see Graph Search as being useful for finding information relating to music. In my experience, my friends do tend to like bands and artists on Facebook over anything else, so it could become useful to festival organisers and promoters."

Jamie, Developer

"It remains to be seen exactly how open and flexible the API will be, but it potentially could be used to make some powerful personal suggestions to users.''

Keir, Media Manager

"My initial thoughts on it are quite simple -- the previous search function was terrible, and this is only an improvement. For it to work for businesses though, Facebook Graph Search will rely on likes, check-ins, optimisation of pages and sharing. In theory, this is all great because it mimics consumer behaviour, but will people respond by becoming more private?

We don't know all the drawbacks or benefits of Graph Search yet, and this puts me very much on the fence. On one hand, it certainly is an interesting development if you want to be visible as a business; on the other, it could lead to more debate about privacy and users taking a stand on what they share.

I do believe, though, that the launch of Graph Search comes at the request of the people -- maybe not directly, but through the popularity of social activity."

What do you think?**

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