Aditya Bhatkal

Social Media and Business Development Executive

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Demystifying Facebook’s Graph Search – It’s easier than we thought

on March 23, 2013

Newsfeeds. Timeline. And then the third pillar of online supremacy to Facebook’s technology-trinity – The Graph Search. The tool that speculators say will facilitate a paradigm change in that one thing that every community online is vying for – The way we ‘search’.

So what is Graph Search?

Graph Search - A preview


In layman’s terms it is simply a search bar that leverages the insurmountable mountain of data that Facebook has collected over the years to reproduce a refined and crisp search result as desired by the user.

How does Facebook do it?

Facebook banks on the level of engagement in terms of likes, shares, comments etc. The more we like and share the more we add to the gold mine of information it has. This enables a user to type exactly what  he/she wants. So if you want to listen to some new music simply type “new music artists” and that will give you the desired result. To further get a more precise answer, type “new music artists my friends like” and this is what you will get.

                                     Facebook Graph Search Result

Why add “my friends likes”?

That exactly is the essence of the Facebook’s graph search. It is based on the simple concept of ‘word-of-mouth’ taken to a whole new level. When we want something we usually first ask a friend, be it a movie, a new game, a place to eat, a place to shop etc. And this is what Facebook takes advantage of.

To elaborate a bit more, imagine an instance where you want to purchase new clothes. The first thing you would do is ask a friend where I’d get the best pair of Jeans in town and then probably ask another friend or two until you finally zero in on a brand or a shop.

Now with graph search it gives you a detailed list of which friend has liked what brand, depending on the search criteria you have entered, all in with the effort of a few mouse-clicks and you can accordingly make a decision.

This very same concept can be extended to a vacation spot, choice of music, plays and shows in town etc.

All in all, if your friends think just like you, you can see what all they have liked to make your search for anything much easier.

What about my privacy?

Delving into deeper intricacies of Graph Search, let’s take a look at its much debated privacy settings.

If you have seen this old viral alert (circulating since 2011) with reference to Facebook’s new Graph Search function it is largely inaccurate and gives incorrect advice on adjusting privacy settings.

Contrary to what’s general belief, Graph Search won’t make any of your Facebook content or other activities visible to strangers unless they’re already visible to the general public as permitted by your own privacy settings. It simply gives members another way to find your stuff.

What if I don’t find what I’m looking for?

Facebook has admitted that rolling out and optimizing this new breakthrough search mechanism will take a few months and thus has integrated its search with Google’s competitor ‘Windows Bing’ to deliver content that Facebook cannot.

It later plans to integrate ‘Instagram’ as well.

In this new attempt to out-master the search giant Google, which enjoys about 2/3rd of the market share, we can only but wait and watch to see how things turn out. What’s your take on this feud between Google and Facebook to attain search engine supremacy? Do you think Facebook will dethrone its arch-nemesis Google in time to come? We’d love to hear from you.

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Posted in: All Articles, Facebook, Social Media for B2B, Social Media for B2C

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