During a highly-anticipated press conference in Menlo Park this morning, Facebook announced the launch of “graph search”, Facebook’s new social search engine.  In beta right now, graph search will be different than a typical web search in that graph search is meant to take a search and return an answer – not a set of links like web search. (i.e. if you are looking for someone to watch Game of Thrones with: Type in game of Thrones and all of your friends who liked Game of Thrones will show up, ranked by who is most important to you) The company plans to roll-out slowly, in part to gather data on how people are using it.



So, what does it all mean? I kept up with Mashable’s Live Facebook blog to find out… Below are some highlights from Mark Zuckerberg’s presentation at Facebook headquarters :

On graph search…

  • Results are ranked by people who are important to you
  • Search can be city or country-specific, so you can find food, places to visit etc. while traveling
  • For photos, pics can be ranked by what photos have the most likes, based on people most important to you
  • For places, you can see everyone who’s been to restaurants

On finding friends…

  • Typing “Friends Who” in graph search will immediately start to offer suggestions such as “Friends who live in San Francisco”
  • Correlations/partnerships – You can search for things like “My friends who like Star wars and Harry Potter”
  • If you meet someone at a party you can search for something like “People named ‘Chris’ who are friends with X”

On finding information…

  • Search isn’t all about your friends you can search for things like “TV shows liked by software engineers”
  • You can also use Graph Search to find restaurants liked by a particular group of people — for instance, the graduates of a culinary school

On privacy…

  • Your privacy settings come into play for every search so if a photo is only shared with friends, then they won’t show up in a Graph Search for non-friends
  • Before search rolls out to the public, Facebook is going to put an alert at the top of the page asking people to review what’s public about them on the site
  • You can only search for items that you could normally see on Facebook

On Facebook’s partners…

  • Bing is integrated into Facebook, so you can do web searches within Facebook — so “Weather in Menlo Park” will pull up weather results from Bing
  • Instagram data will be included in graph search soon

On Google…

  • “We would love to work with Google. We want to work with any web search company, as long as the companies are willing to honor the privacy of the folks sharing content on FB. We haven’t been able to work that out yet.” – Mark Zuckerberg
  • Zuck says the main issue is that if someone takes a photo down, Facebook needs it to come down everywhere. “Flexibility after the fact” is where the discussion fell apart the last time with Google

The official announcement from Facebook’s official blog can be found here: http://newsroom.fb.com/News/562/Introducing-Graph-Search- 

If one thing is for certain, Facebook is on a mission to monetize. How do you think the new Facebook graph search will affect advertisers?