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Facebook Social Networks

Facebook Announces Social Search Tools 128

Posted by Soulskill
from the stalking-made-simple dept.
Today at a press conference in California, Mark Zuckerberg announced a big new feature from Facebook: Graph Search. It's a set of tools designed to quickly bring together social information involving "people, photos, places, and interests" in response to a user's query. Zuckerberg was quick to point out that they aren't indexing the web, and thus aren't challenging Google. However, it will use the vast volumes of data already stored on Facebook to answer questions like "What kinds of movies do my friends like?" and "Who are friends of friends that are single in San Francisco?" Addressing the obvious privacy concerns, the company said it wouldn't allow users to search content that wasn't already shared with them (or already public). The searched data does, however, include location data, if it's been shared — you can search by places your friends have been. Significantly, the official site also mentions that Graph Search will help you meet new people, something Facebook hasn't really highlighted until now. Graph Search is being rolled out as a limited beta, with only a few thousand participants. In the coming months, they'll open it to more users and continue working on mobile and non-English versions.
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Facebook Announces Social Search Tools

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  • Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jddeluxe (965655) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @03:45PM (#42595493)
    Additional levels of automated stalking!!!
  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @03:47PM (#42595523)

    Additional levels of data to mine and sell to our advertisers!

  • No thanks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @03:48PM (#42595537)

    When I've wanted to know what movies my friends like, I'll probably have already talked to them about it.

    On Facebook, though, I've got "friends" who are basically just people I shared some period of time and space with - e.g. high school classmates. I don't really care what movies they like, unless they're members of the tiny minority with whom I've kept contact over the decades.

    BTW this is the exact same logic that made me immediately turn off Google's "social" search results when they enabled that last year (in a previous attempt to revive the moribund Google+). If I'm doing a Google search, it's because I'm asking a question my immediate friends can't help me with.

  • by venom85 (1399525) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @03:49PM (#42595545)

    Is anyone outside of the teenage girl crowd even paying attention to Facebook announcements anymore? I'm legitimately asking. I have a Facebook account that I log into maybe once or twice a year. And most of the circles I spend time in don't really use it much anymore either. Am I the only one that sees Facebook announcements and just shrugs with indifference?

  • by ToadProphet (1148333) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @03:50PM (#42595555)

    Well, those of us who have successfully managed to stay off facebook can...

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @03:54PM (#42595605)

    What Facebook doesn't seem to realize is that my Facebook "friends" aren't really my friends - they are a large group of family and acquaintances. I don't think my taste in food and/or movies matches maybe 10% of my FB contacts. So if I do search for movies or restaurants my "friends" like, I'm not likely to get any better results than if I search Google.

    Plus everyone I know would have to share a lot more information to make this service useful.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @03:55PM (#42595617)

    I think so. Do you?

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @03:58PM (#42595675)

    Zuck said that Facebook spends 3 percent of their CPU power on privacy. With such a low CPU budget dedicated to something as important as users' privacy, it's no wonder they do such a poor job of it.

    I read 10%, not 3%:

    http://www.engadget.com/2013/01/15/facebook-graph-search/ [engadget.com]

    What would you consider to be a more reasonable amount of CPU budget to spend on excluding search results from some queries? I'm surprised it's as high as 10%, but I never really thought of CPU usage as a metric for privacy protection.

  • by davecrusoe (861547) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @03:59PM (#42595685) Homepage

    Rather than blowing it away outright (which some of the comments have done), let's think about it for a sec. There's some cool stuff going on here, and then a big question.

    The cool stuff is the technology and innovation. Think about this for a sec - Facebook's engineers are essentially looking at a variety of signals to determine (a) intent and (b) likely outcome. The signals are getting increasingly complex - not simply keyword boolean queries any longer - and, to me, that's a fascinating growth and extension of technology. It's innovation.

    The question, however, is whether there will be enough value, simplicity and meaning to change user behavior from defaulting to Google to defaulting to Facebook or Bing. In my observations of search, for instance, I've seen young people search for Bing on Google simply to access Bing to perform a search. Our default to Google to answer questions of all forms and types is deeply embedded in our action and thought. Furthermore, search will have to prove itself valuable to all the searches not relevant to social graph: typically research questions, like "Who was George Washington?".

    So, I applaud the innovation, and will await time to view change, through the lens of history.

    --Dave

  • by Macrat (638047) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @04:07PM (#42595777)
    Facebook is a photo sharing service for many families.
  • by hawguy (1600213) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @04:09PM (#42595801)

    Is anyone outside of the teenage girl crowd even paying attention to Facebook announcements anymore? I'm legitimately asking. I have a Facebook account that I log into maybe once or twice a year. And most of the circles I spend time in don't really use it much anymore either. Am I the only one that sees Facebook announcements and just shrugs with indifference?

    Actually, I thought the demographic went the other way -- most of my young nieces and nephews (18 - mid twenties) seem to have dropped off facebook, with very rare updates. On the other hand, the 30 year old and up parents and grandparents are still posting baby pics and talking about doctor's appointments.

    Do teenagers still care about FB?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @04:18PM (#42595885)

    Searching in more advanced forms beyond boolean (semantics etc.) is far far older than facebook - they are doing nothing interesting, indeed it is surprising how little they are extracting with this. "Photos of me when I was 19" - check variable for DOB of user - search photo database tagged with them within a 1 year period. There is very little "innovation" here.

  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @04:20PM (#42595911)

    What Facebook doesn't seem to realize is that my Facebook "friends" aren't really my friends...

    What you don't seem to realize is that Facebook doesn't care about what you think and who you think your friends are. Facebook is simply enlarging their HUGE database for mining profitable connections. It's all about gathering information and AFTERWORDS letting loose the statisticians and analysts. If there was not HUGE amounts of money involved, they would not do it.

    The pencil-necked bean-counting abacas drivers at Facebook are tapping into the value of BILLIONS of pieces of ennui.

  • by swb (14022) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @04:26PM (#42595973)

    "Addressing the obvious privacy concerns, the company said it wouldn't allow users to search content that wasn't already shared with them (or already public). "

    Translation:

    "This is totally worthless without shared, public data, so we plan to completely fuck with our privacy settings a whole bunch before this rolls out so that we can make sure your data is public and shared."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @04:35PM (#42596091)

    That would be what Google+ is for.

  • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @04:36PM (#42596095)

    Do teenagers still care about FB?

    They snapchat. Its basically a photo sharing app with sexting optimized features although the flyer was careful to note the optimized for does not necessarily equal exclusively used for... No I'm not involved don't have an account LOL, this is from one of those "parents learn about your kids life online" type of flyers I believe sent home from school, or maybe it was online, so its probably already months outta date. Facebook is seen as the place mom and dad hang out, so you can't "do stuff" without them so go somewhere else to socialize...

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @05:25PM (#42596611)

    How can 10% of a server farm go to that? if(notallowed(X,Y)) { etc

    How is that notallowed() function written?

    boggles my mind. Maybe I am alone and the Ubercoders at FB really can spend 10% of quality CPU time satisfying that func().

    H.

    Facebook processes more than 500TB [slashgear.com] of data a day, and has over 100PB in its Hadoop cluster.

    Maybe a simple notallowed() function doesn't scale linearly across many PB of data.

  • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreyaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @05:53PM (#42596943)

    "This is totally worthless without shared, public data, so we plan to completely fuck with our privacy settings a whole bunch before this rolls out so that we can make sure your data is public and shared."

    Indeed -- Facebook regularly changes (publicly or quietly) various settings to "streamline" user experience and protect user privacy. But I am yet to see a single example where the default change did not expose additional information that used to be private. You'd think at least one move geared to "protect user privacy" would make something private, yet that never happens.

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold

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