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.