He outlined the three pillars of queries that occur on Facebook. First is the newsfeed that tells users “what’s going on with the people around them?” The second query is the timeline that tells users “who is this person?” The third pillar he introduced today—Graph Search. It started in beta today and will be rolled out to all users slowly.
How is this query different than the first two user options? It allows users to build queries that they want. How is this different from an web search? It is not like a traditional web page that Google indexes for its search engine. Instead, Facebook indexed their database—1 billion people, 240 billion photos, and 1 trillion connections—all at user fingertips. “They are friend connections, follow connections, photo tags, likes, and comments.”
Now, a good question is how is privacy protected or is it still? Yes, it is privacy-aware which, according to Zuckerberg’s presentation means:
- Every piece of content has its own audience
- Most content is not public
- You can only search for content that has been shared with you
So, what are the uses of such a search? Let’s say you want to collect information on all your friends who enjoy the TV show Game of Thrones. You can do a precise search on that and see who you might invite over to watch the season premier with you. Or if you want to know what friends like Star Wars AND Harry Potter you simply run a query. And, in the event you can't find what you've searched for, they have partnered with Bing so you can look on their search engine.
Of course this all sounds good, but what will it mean for always fluctuating privacy settings? How about the barrage of advertising? Will we see an influx of friends based on what we put in our political and religious views? There are a lot of questions that come along with this new feature.