Graph Search: Facebook’s Big Announcement is A Different Kind of Search Engine

So Facebook has shit on all my theories regarding their big announcement. Turns out, the big announcement was not that he “ripped Facebook off from the Winklevoss twins,” but rather something edgy and new called “Graph Search” (Hmm, the name needs a little work … but then the developers admitted that they had trouble coming up with a good name).

Mark Zuckerberg, at his press conference today in Menlo Park, California (Facebook’s first press conference in months), has insisted that it is not a web search engine to compete with Google directly, but rather an internal search engine. “Graph Search is not web search,” said Zuckerberg. “It’s about graphing our part of the web.”

The internal search engine differs from their traditional search bar in that it activates off of phrases and allows you to search through all the back archives of friend’s accounts for key word groups that interest you. The example Zuckerberg gives is one of him and his wife Priscilla Chan searching for “Mexican restaurants nearby that my friends have been to.”

“We found a place and it was good,” he reported. Sonofabitch! If you get a line on a good Mexican place, you’re supposed to give out the name!

The product is experiencing a slow, limited roll out initially, and Zuckerberg hopes that by the time it is available to people like you, it will have a fully realized — and bug free — existence.

More exciting than Mexican restaurants though, is that you can also find new friends via shared interests. By typing in “Twilight” and “Suicide” you can find other people on the web who have listed those hobbies and therefore perhaps share your particular interests. These were not the examples given in his speech, but some of the actual (read: boring) demonstrations done by Graph Search during the press conference included:

  • “Photos of Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan”
  • “Languages my friends speak”
  • “Music liked by people who like Mitt Romney” and “Music liked by people who like Obama”(Beatles was the only common ground)
  • “Indian restaurants liked by my friends from India“
  • “People named Chris who are friends with Lars and went to Stanford”
  • “My friends of friends who are single men and San Francisco residents and who are from India”

Facebook was additionally careful to pay lip service towards addressing privacy concerns, as they have been criticized over that issue lately, and pointed out that only public information would be available in the searches. “You can only search for the content people have shared with you,” said software developer Lars Rasmussen. Holy shit! I totally think I went to high school with this guy — if it is the same dude, he was the star wide receiver on the football team and allegedly cheated on his girlfriend Sara Bareilles (the famous pop singer chick — she and Lars were a grade ahead of me) in a three-way with the two hottest girls in my class. Lars was the fuckin’ man! Damn, good life, guy.

Update: Just looked at his photo, totally not him… still good story though, right?!