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Facebook Announces Social Search Tools 128

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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  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @04:16PM (#42595863)

    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.

    It was innovation 10 years ago, now it's what everyone is doing -- Google doesn't do a simple SQL query in a big database to determine the results and ads you see for a query - they mine data from Gmail and their ad network and combine your personal preferences to determine relevance.

  • Wrong, genius (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @04:16PM (#42595867)
  • by aclarke ( 307017 ) <spam&clarke,ca> on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @05:27PM (#42596637) Homepage
    I'm in the process of uploading lots of old scanned family pictures to Facebook. The reason is that almost all my immediate and extended family is on Facebook. This way my cousin can provide a comment on whether that was actually at her parent's farm or the one down the road or some other incredibly important tidbit of information, and my sister can read this and comment on it. If someone tags my nephew in a photo, he gets notified that there's a baby photo of him up. It's social aspects like this that make Facebook much better (in many ways) than Dropbox. Of course, there are downsides too. For those who don't want to have anything to do with Facebook, I'm happy to upload the photos to Dropbox and send them the link.

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian