Graph search, according to Zuckerburg is a "new way to navigate these connections (F Connections) and make them more useful." He continued on to say "Graph Search and web search are very different. Web search is designed to take a set of keywords (for example: “hip hop”) and provide the best possible results that match those keywords. With Graph Search you combine phrases (for example: “my friends in New York who like Jay-Z“) to get that set of people, places, photos or other content that’s been shared on Facebook. We believe they have very different uses.”
Various members of the media and Tech organizations played with it, and some Facebook users have been plying with the beta for several weeks, myself included. Facebook's claim that GS (Graph Search) will be the third pillar that makes up the foundations of FB's user experience is interesting. And I will explain why.
GS's power over information and it's usefulness is solely dependent on one of the least common traits in Social Networking: HONESTY.Given it's current design, and the attitudes of the current average FB user, the results obtained by GS are sketchy AT BEST. Because of some VERY COMMON practices of deception and lying that are just large parts of the FB ecosystem. Teenage Girls who list being "Married" or "In a Relationship" with their BFF, or Fictional Person. Teenagers and Adults who list their age as "99" (Millions of these people), People who saw a Logo on a friends post for a coffee shop 1,000 miles from them, that they have NEVER been to, but clicked "Like" because their friend said it was good. In addition, GS is a Search TECH, meaning it cannot account for "Social Nuances" Like SARCASM. i.e.: Those people who click "Like" on a post to sarcastically express their disdain. Or people who "Like" a post then Comment on it to completely trash the post or it's Author. And I could go on for DAYS. FB is full of so much Malarky and crap it isn't even funny.
London Blogger Tom Scott actually started a Tumblr blog to show the capabilities and HILARITY of searches with GS, (http://actualfacebookgraphsearches.tumblr.com/) and while funny, it truly shows the nature of the uselessness of it's results: Searches like "Mothers of Jews who Like Bacon", or "Married people who like Prostitutes", or even better "Current Employers of people who like Racism". One can obviously see the inherent faults with searches like these. I personally know a couple dozen people who are not particularly religious so they list their religion as "Jewish" in an attempt to be snarky. And "Married people who lik Prostitution"?? Let's be honest, what married person would get to stay that was if they were actually serious? (I am amazed the ones who list it as a JOKE even stay Married. Totally disrespectful). My point is, the rampant personal fraud on FB renders a great deal of GS's potential moot. Which brings us to another of GS's problems, PRIVACY.
I am not saying that GS violates your privacy. YET. GS simply uses everything we already, voluntarily made public ourselves. But most of us weren't thinking of having all our Likes and links cataloged and indexed for display when we did them... And while FB offers the ability to hide certain personal details from GS all powerful reach, it is NOT an easy or simple process. And let's be honest, with great power comes great responsibility. Potential for intimidation becomes real once a centralized tool helps people search for "Divorced/Widowed woman who like psychotherapy and visit Bars" or "Single women who Work at Home", "Single Women who Like Gun Control" you start to see where I am going with its power. Not to mention the STALKING potential GS creates. See that sexy girl with a name tag that says "Angel" working at JC Penny's? Use GS to search for people who work at JC Penny's in Springfield name Angel. Scary right?
The main issue and problem with GS is Reliability. Not all of the results are factual. People who fake Identities, provide false information, clicked "Like" on accident. GS isn't going away, it is a major push from FB. Never before would we have thought others would be able to discover so much about us, with Facebook holding a gigantic database with trillions of personal details. Don't forget, Facebook is a profit machine. GS wasn't developed to make FB more fun. It was developed to deliver more targeted information to advertisers and marketers about our personal lives and help them push their products.
That all said, GS has some amazing potential for making FB more usable as well. Want to find pictures of a friend from before a certain date? A Dentist your friends like? TV Shows your friends Like? Want to find out what friends or friends of friends are single and like Sushi?
All in all, the information is all there, FB has just developed a tool to aggregate it all into individual searches, making it easier to find. Over time, in a few years, the tool may end up being one of their crowning achievements. As it stands now though, It is a source of great amusement.