Facebook is collecting 500 terabytes of new data every day. That’s a mind-blowing amount of data. Yet with over 950-million users who are generating data with every click of a “Like”, upload of a photo, page visit, notification, and status update, and spending more than 6.5 hours, on average, on the site every month it’s easy to realize how it came to be that the social site has accumulated so much information. However, until now, there’s not been a meaningful way for anyone to use it. And as Jay Parikh, VP of infrastructure at Facebook said, “If you aren’t taking advantage of big data, then you don’t have big data, you have just a pile of data”. So it created "Graph Search," which will allow Facebook users to pillage our friends' status updates, interests, photos and general Facebook activity.
Although there has been discourse among users about what Facebook does with all the data it collects, it is still receiving vast amounts of information, equating to roughly 300 million photos and 2.7 billion likes every single day. And while many users keep their profiles locked down so that only “Friends” and “Friends of Friends” can view their information, a great many more are publicly sharing information either through their account or on their “Pages”. All of this publicly available data, now searchable through Graph Search, has the potential to eventually turn Facebook into its own self-sustaining network.
Imagine being able to get the most up-to-date reviews on restaurants, learn about hot travel locations, and even determine what kind of music is popular among your peers, complete with photos and videos. Graph Search makes it possible and best of all, simple. Search capability is what made Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) a worldwide juggernaut, just as search capabilities (for anything you want to buy) made Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) the de facto marketplace of the Internet. And this new search tool, combined with the ability to book flights, hotel rooms, and even dinner reservations, is what could ultimately turn Facebook into an Internet sandbox whose borders people are happy to remain within. While this transformation will not take place instantly, Graph Search is the beginning for Facebook users to get everything they need out of the Internet without ever having to step outside of Facebook’s domain. And with the current level of human interaction its borders, like its vast amount of data, may be mind-blowing.
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