The system known as Graph Search is Facebook's way of allowing you to search through the massive amount of connections that exist between you and your friends. This search system is in Beta mode when the article you're reading now is being published, but it'll be in full swing by the Spring or Summer of 2013. This release is a relatively important addition to the Facebook ecosystem because before now, only the titles of people, places, and things could be searched - and photos were all but buried hopelessly under piles of galleries with no search connections at all.
In a Nutshell
The Facebook Graph Search bar will be appearing (or already exists) at the top of your Facebook page and works with instant suggestions based on what you type. You can search for people, photos, places, and interests - that's what Facebook suggests - but your imagination can run wild with keywords. Example searches include the following:
• Photos of my friends in Minnesota
• People who like SlashGear and live nearby
• Tourist attractions in England visited by my friends
• Photos before 2005
• Italian restaurants in Montana my friends have liked
• My Friends who work at SlashGear
Those of you who just started using Facebook in the last few years - or even the last few days - probably have been frustrated that there's not a single search bar that's been able to do what Graph Search is suggesting here this week. With such a massive treasure trove of information in Facebook, it was only a matter of time before the developers on Facebook's team revealed something such as this.
You'll be able to use this tool to discover restaurants - search for restaurants in your area that your friends have liked (or have just been to). Use this tool to find friends who may want to go cycling with you in the Spring (friends of friends or friends you never knew liked their bike!) If you're heading to a new city you've never been to before, search for photos of your friends in that city and ask those friends for advice on what to see!
This is an exploration tool as Facebook presents it. We'll have to see later this year what it'll become in the hands of the public.
Your privacy in all of this remains the same, or so Facebook notes - this being true so far as your privacy settings are still in place, and nothing you've made private is able to be searched for or seen. If you'd rather not have someone realizing you've been to Italy 20 times over the course of 10 years and are only able to hide this fact due to the difficulty someone would have putting together all your albums at once before Graph Search exists, you might want to do something about it.
Facebook took the time (above) to show you how Privacy works with Graph Search, publishing the video you see here before the special event revealing Graph Search was even complete. Make sure you watch the whole thing and put your mind at ease! For those of you that want to go through your history piece by piece to take out the old connections you're not proud of or otherwise want to destroy, hit up your [Activity Log] and chop away!
When Graph Search will be available to you
At the time of this article's publishing, there's a website at http://www.facebook.com/about/graphsearch where you can hit a button that'll add you to a waiting list. This waiting list will be addressed person by person, giving each of them an invite to Graph Search beta. Zuckerberg himself noted that the service would be rolled out to users over the coming weeks and months at a speed relative to the interest they see in its use and any problems they encounter as it rolls out.
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