The following is an excerpt from “Facebook Graph POV” an exclusive whitepaper brought to you by Oracle. Download the complete whitepaper now and learn everything you need to know about Graph Search's features and how to put it to work for you, either as an individual user or a business.

On January 15, 2013 Facebook introduced the world to Graph Search. Released in beta, Graph Search joins News Feed and Timeline as Facebook’s third foundational pillar, allowing users to search their social graphs with queries such as:

  • Friends who like Florence + the Machine
  • National Parks liked by people who speak Russian and live in Burlington, VT
  • Photos taken before 2005

Search results draw from any information a Page, place, group, app, game, or person has shared with connections or the public. The first version of Graph Search focuses on people, photos (excluding Instagram), places, and interests, but will expand to include data from posts, status updates, and thirdparty apps. Search results are unique to each person as no two social graphs are the same. Also, results are based not just on relationships, but rather strength of the relationships.

A search for “People who like the things I like” might yield a set of results that look something like the image below. Since that particular search results in over 1,000 people it might be worth filtering. Using the column on the right, users can filter by categories like gender, relationship, current city, and

Facebook Graph Search

Figure 1 Sample Graph Search results for People who like the things I like

Results are not just unique based on social graphs, they are also dependent on what Facebook determines to be the category of search. If Facebook thinks it’s a recruiting search the results will contain snippets of people’s work history. If Facebook thinks it’s a dating search the results will contain fields like relationship status, age, and location.

Social Graph could help Facebook get back on track with revenue expectations and expand its active user base, but first it needs to accomplish three objectives:

  • Nail monetization
  • Prove value to businesses
  • Convince users that the benefits of the product outweigh the risks of giving Facebook additional personal information and relaxing their privacy settings

Why Now?

Facebook's worst nightmare is a static social graph; for there to be revenue there must be growth.

But the growth rate in the average number of Facebook friends has slowed, and active users in some parts of the world is on the decline. According to Social Bakers data, users in the UK dropped by 600K in December 2012.

In a Guardian article entitled "Graph Search: Zuckerberg hopes Facebook's 'third pillar' will halt user decline," Nate Elliot, a social-media analyst at Forrester Research, is quoted as saying the Graph Search announcement is part of Facebook's ambition to keep users coming back to its site.

"If users aren't adding very many new friends or connections, then their personal network becomes less and less active over time. Terrifyingly for Facebook, that threat is very real. We haven't seen significant growth in the average number of friends per user recently. If Facebook and Bing can bring elements of Graph Search to Facebook's web search tool, then that's great. But it's not the point; the point is to keep Facebook users more active within the site."

Investors want to see more active users spending more time on the site, and Graph Search might be just the product to make that shift transpire. It’s no accident that the timing of its release occurred just two weeks prior to Facebook’s quarterly earnings announcement.

Download the complete whitepaper now for more.