Facebook social search feature unveiled

2013-01-16 08:55

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San Francisco – Facebook has unveiled a new feature called Graph Search that will allow users to leverage all the information in their networks for personalised search results.

The social search function will become “the third pillar” of Facebook, alongside the Newsfeed and Timeline, company founder Mark Zuckerberg said at a press event at the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters yesterday.

The search engine will mine what Facebook calls the social graph to come up with personally relevant answers to users’ queries, using information posted by the user and others in the social network, Zuckerberg said.

The search bar, which will appear in the blue ribbon atop every Facebook page, will understand natural language queries like “cities my family visited” or “restaurants in London my friends like.”

“Most people today don’t think about Facebook as a place to discover ... but with this product it’s so natural to be able to do that,” Zuckerberg said.

The revamp of Facebook’s previously derided search function was a long-term project Zuckerberg said, since it involved indexing and interpreting the data of the site’s billion-plus users.

“Today we’re just starting off with things. We view this as a project we will be working on for years and years to come and which will be an amazing resource for people around the world to use.”

Zuckerberg said the new feature was “privacy-aware” and would only access content that users have specified as either public and/or viewable to others in their network.

It will be available first to users in a beta testing phase before being rolled out officially on a yet-to-be-determined date, he said.

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