Facebook to begin rolling out Graph Search

By James Riches topicIcon Social Media

Tool lets users search content shared by their friends

Facebook is set to introduce Graph Search to all US English users after completing a successful trial run. The social network announced its new feature in January, originally releasing a beta version for volunteers to test.

Over the last six months, Facebook says "tens of millions" of people have offered feedback on the service that has helped it improve to a point where the company has deemed it ready for public use.

Graph Search allows users to use shared content their friends have posted to find answers to specific questions. For example, if you were visiting a city where a significant portion of your Facebook friends live and wanted to find somewhere to eat, you could enter a query along the lines of 'restaurants liked by people from Cardiff'.

This would bring back a quick snapshot of the options your friends would be likely to recommend if you asked them in person.

Mark Zuckerberg has stated that Graph Search is different from other search functions such as Google, as it gives one specific answer to a question rather than providing a list of links that might be useful.

Statuses and comments are not yet included in these searches, while a mobile version is thought to be in development.

Facebook addresses privacy concerns

As usual, privacy has been a hot topic surrounding this new product, with Facebook encouraging users to review their settings and ensure anything they don't want to be shared is either deleted or restricted to a certain group of people.

This is fine for general 'about me' information, but is more difficult to do for photographs, where it may be that you were not the original uploader. While you can de-tag yourself, the image will still appear in your friend's information, and the only way to guarantee this doesn't happen is to have them remove it.

Of course, this was all true before Graph Search, but its arrival may just make users that little bit more wary about what they post on their timelines in future.

Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword, said: "While everyone has known about Graph Search for some time, the arrival of a full version will expose it to even greater scrutiny. It will be interesting to see how people interact with the service to discover more about their friends."