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Facebook search : It's the beginning of something big

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On Tuesday, Facebook CEO and Founder, Mark Zuckerberg, introduced the company’s internally focused search engine, called Facebook Graph Search.

This search tool will search the immense amounts of data already inside Facebook, pulled from 1 billion profiles, 24 billion photos and 1 trillion connections to uncover specific information in your Facebook network.

Though the way Graph Search is being portrayed today may leave you feeling it’s not applicable to networking for business development, look across the horizon. Most in the legal profession dismissed Google in 2001.

Zuckerberg made it clear that Graph is not a Web search engine, Graph Search offers something that no other service can by taking a precise query and delivering an answer that you wouldn’t find in web search. This live search bar allows Facebook users to find what their friends have ‘liked’ or recommended, as well as photos of friends. This could be done manually, but graph search makes this task much more simple.

Tomio Geron (@tomiogeron), Technology Writer at Forbes takes a look at the benefits of Facebook’s approach to structured search after hearing the announcement in person at Facebook headquarters from Zuckerberg himself.

Facebook focused on four use cases in this initial launch of Graph Search: people, photos, places and interests.

“Zuck shows a search of photos of himself and his wife Priscilla Chan. Then a search for Mexican restaurants in Palo Alto. This includes listings of restaurants and his friends who have checked in or Liked the restaurants. Looks like a major Yelp and Foursquare competitor.

In the demo: Facebook is showing a search of “friends who like Star Wars and Harry Potter.” The list can also be narrowed down by school, hometown, gender, school, relationship and other factors using drop downs on the right hand side of the search results. The list of people also shows what other likes the people have and how they are connected to you.”

Searching People:

Zuckerberg highlighted using the search engine to find a date. You can now run a query for “friends of friends who are single and like running” or any other hobby/interest. This could prove to be an invaluable tool for those looking into online dating.

Not only that, but this could help with your career search. Facebook, much like LinkedIn will show you that your network is bigger than you think. If you’re looking for a job in a particular field or city, you could search “friends of friends who are lawyers” to find some connections. You will also be able to search for a particular company to find a contact there.

Searching photos:

You can search for photos of friends taken by location, whether it’s specific like “Wrigley Field” or general areas such as a certain city by typing in “photos of my friends taken in New York City.” You will only be able to see the photos that people have shared with you.

Searching Interests:

Users can find music, movies, TV shows, and other interests based on what their friends like. You can type in “Movies my friends like” or “TV shows my friends like.” You can look up “TV shows like by lawyers” to narrow down your search.

Searching Places:

Use Facebook Graph Search to find a bite to eat. Search for restaurants that your friends have liked or talked about. When travelling you can search from “restaurants in Florence” liked by people who live in Italy. Or search for friends who have lived in Italy to ask them for suggestions.

Facebook Graph Search has partnered with Microsoft Bing, so if your search doesn’t match what Facebook has, there will be other options and links from Bing Search.

For those worried about security, you can take measures to limit what data on your profile shows up in social graph search. You can change settings regarding your bio and geographical location by editing the “About” section.

The social search is being rolled out slowly to a small group of users, but will be accessible to all users over the coming months. Head over to the Facebook Graph Search Page and scroll to the bottom to get on the waiting list for Graph Search.

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