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Social Media Marketing for Business

David A. George


January 15, 2013

[BREAKING] Facebook Launches Graph Search, New Weapon for Small Businesses

January 15, 2013 | By | 43 Comments">43 Comments

Facebook just made a HUGE announcement today that will impact the way we search for information forever. Just how BIG was this announcement, you ask? When you consider the following numbers, it’s hard to even grasp! – Nearly 1 million new people join daily – 240+ Billion photos – 1+ Billion people, and – 1+ Trillion connections What if… you could “graph search” the massive open graph network for specific and important places, photos, events, and people? Well, that’s the idea! Keep reading to find out exactly what this huge announcement was and why it changes information search for good…

3 Pillars of the Facebook ecosystem

new facebook graph search

There are 3 Pillars to Facebook’s ecosystem of connections and interactions:

1. News Feed – “what’s going on in the world around me”

This allows you to get a real-time feed of what your friends and pages are up to. It is highly customizable, as people can “hide” content they don’t want to see.

2. Timeline – “what’s going on in their life”

All the content of Facebook users is organized and shown according to the period of time in which they were uploaded or created. Posts and events are displayed along a timeline that runs through the center of the profile, with the option of adding events that occurred prior to the user joining Facebook as well as “hiding” posts.

3. Graph Search – “anything I want to know”

It searches content in four areas: people, photos, interests and places. It is a new way for you to find people who are most relevant to you in those four areas. The third pillar, Graph Search, is the latest development from Facebook that will revolutionize the way we search for information (especially local search!).

Graph Search vs Web Search

“We believe they have separate uses.” – Lars Rasmussen, FB Engineer & Google Maps Co-founder

new facebook graph search

Facebook’s new Graph Search isn’t your mama’s typical web search.

Traditional web search takes keywords (example: “the Grand Canyon”) and returns search results based on the best content that matches those keywords. The Facebook Graph Search, however, is based on combining phrases. For example, you would search for something like, “my friends who have visited the Grand Canyon.” The search results would return the set of people, places, photos, and other content that has been shared on Facebook. BUT, just in case Facebook can’t find what you’re searching for, they have teamed up with Microsoft’s Bing search engine to locate it. The Bing-powered web search within Facebook, will have a normal blue link search for things like Weather that Facebook “hasn’t indexed yet.”

“People use search engines to answer questions. But we can answer a set of questions that no one else can really answer. All those other services are indexing primarily public information, and stuff in Facebook isn’t out there in the world — it’s stuff that people share. There’s no real way to cut through the contents of what people are sharing, to fulfill big human needs about discovery, to find people you wouldn’t otherwise be connected with. And we thought we should do something about that. We’re the only service in the world that can do that.– Zuck

Facebook Graph Search focuses on 4 main things

1. People

Search Facebook for info on your friends. Some examples of these search terms are: – “friends who live in my city” – “people from my hometown” – “friends of friends who have been to Yosemite Nat’l Park” – “software engineers who live in San Francisco and like skiing” – “people who like things I like” – “people who like tennis and live nearby”

2. Photos

You can also search through the over 240 Billion photos that are on Facebook, with terms like: – “photos I like” – “photos of my family” – “photos of my friends before 1999” – “photos of my friends taken in NY” – “photos of the Eiffel Tower”

3. Places

Search various places to find info on dining menus, customer reviews, and even develop a personal trip itinerary. Some appropriate search terms are: – “restaurants in San Francisco” – “cities visited by my family” – “Indian restaurants liked by my friends from India” – “tourist attractions in Italy visited by my friends” – “restaurants in NY liked by Chefs” – “countries my friends have visited”

4. Interests

Expand your horizons by seeing what influences and tastes your friends have included in their Interests. You can search for things like: – “music my friends like” – “movies liked by people who like movies I like” – “languages my friends speak” – “strategy games played by friends of my friends” – “movies like by people who are film directors” – “books read by CEOs”

Privacy Concerns

“We’ve built Graph Search from the start with privacy in mind, and it respects the privacy and audience of each piece of content on Facebook.” – Zuck

Your privacy settings determine what’s searchable.

According to Facebook: You can find people based on things they’ve shared with you, including their interests and profile info. The search results will show you things like friends who share their city with you, people whose city is set to Public, and suggested results based on info shared with you. – Example: Try searching for “People who live in my city” You can find photos you and your friends have posted or been tagged in. Others will see any photos they can see on Facebook, including photos hidden from timeline. – Example: Try searching for “Photos of me” And, the Facebook Social Graph lets you discover places and interests like restaurants, new music, and influences through your friends and connections. – Example: Try searching for “Restaurants my friends have been to” Bottom Line: You can only see what you could already view elsewhere on Facebook.

3 Facebook Privacy Tips:

  1. To control who can see your current city, edit this setting in your About tab on your timeline
  2. To review or remove location tags of you at any time, go to the Posts You’re Tagged In section of your Activity Log
  3. You can review photos you’ve shared or have been tagged in. Photos that are untagged but not deleted can still be discovered by others on Facebook.

What does this mean for your business?

Today, Facebook released improvements to its internal social search. As marketers, we should all be drooling at the social giant’s updates that will allow us to target customers in a revolutionary way. The new tool will turn personal information people have shared on Facebook into a powerful searchable database. Facebook is definitely trying to tell us something by releasing their new social search engine.

Your Turn

Has Facebook just taken Google and Yelp (down 6% market share today) to the grave? Tell us in the comments below!


David A. George I'm a UX + Growth Marketer passionate about people, music, intelligent UX, Android, and breathing underwater. I'd love to connect with you on LinkedIn, Twitter, and on my website.