For a company whose entire business is collecting and cataloging enormous amounts of data, Facebook has always had the worst search engine. A few months ago, they started down a path to make it right and now it is a reality. You’ve heard about it. Some of you have tried it. But now it’s available to all – the Facebook Graph Search.
Usually, I’m the last one to get a new feature, but I’ve actually had this option for awhile now. I played with it when it first came out but I soon lost interest because it wasn’t all it claimed to be. But sources say that this week’s new release is zippier and smarter than the version I tested and sure it enough, it is so.
Mind you, we’re still not talking about Google search here. Facebook Graph Search is more about helping you find people who like the same things you like. The introduction page shows us people who like cycling and who live in Seattle, Washington.
So not me. I searched for people who like the same TV shows and actors that I like and I discovered a few interesting quirks along the way.
First off, even though the search engine is supposed to handle plain English, you’ll have more success if you use Facebook’s accepted phrases. For example, “people who like” is different from “people who follow.” When I asked to see the Followers of a certain actor, I got a long list of returns. When I asked to see Friends of the same actor, I got nothing.
Facebook will guide you (try to read your mind) as you type by providing a drop-down list of options. That led me to this strange result:
Likers? As in Liker Gangs?
I also found that when I search for “People Who Like” – the results begin with people I follow or people with a mutual friend. It also seems to pick up on my current location and my home town. I tried a couple of these searches and was both intrigued and amused by the results. You just never know about people until you read their whole Facebook profile.
Which leads me to the issue of privacy. If you’re concerned about what might show up in a search, you can go in to your settings right now and limit the audience on your old posts.
There is also an option for how all future posts will be handled. This way, you can stop people from seeing any past bad behavior and still allow them to see what an angel you’ve become.
Go give Facebook Graph Search a test drive and let us know what you think. Is it the equivalent of an online dating service or is there a practical application for marketers? I’m not sure yet.