February 25 2013

Facebook Graph Search - A Social Search Engine

If you are one of the 600 million people who log into Facebook daily, you might be one of the few people seeing Facebook’s new Graph Search feature. You’ve always known that Facebook knows a lot about you. Now they are using that data to help you and your friends search better within Facebook. Want to know what books your friends like? Want to know which of your friends in a specific town also like your favorite sports team? Enter the wonderful world of Graph Search.

Core elements of graph search

For those who haven’t been part of the beta of graph search, the new feature appears as bigger search bar on top of each Facebook page. By entering a combination of search terms, you can customize your view of the content you and your friends have shared on Facebook. According to Facebook, “allows people to use the graph to make new connections”. What does this mean for you? Unlike the previous Facebook search feature, graph enables you to search people, photos, places and interests to filter information better and get more value out of your Facebook experience.

How do graph search and web search compare?

First and foremost, graph search does not overtly compete with web search engines like Google or Bing (at least, not yet). But it is fair to wonder when someone would use one versus another.

Facebook graph search  versus web search

What you might like about graph search




  • Faster search: The graph search feature is a smarter and faster search feature within Facebook. Begin entering a term and it will quickly allow you to navigate Facebook much better than before this was introduced.


  • Find someone: If you are looking for someone who is a mutual friend, Graph Search allows you to find them more quickly and easily. Yes, you can find new friends without graph search, but with it you can find people based on multiple search parameters. Looking for people in your town who like to play ultimate Frisbee too? Use graph search.

  • Find photos: Since photos are in the search scope, you can find non-private photos based on your keyword search. Know that photo popularity (as measured by likes/comments) determines search rank so in theory, the “best match” will appear first.

  • Filter your friends: Want to filter your friends who live in a specific geographic area? You might not want to when you are home but have you found yourself traveling and wondering who you might know in that city and where is the best place to eat? If so, graph search might be able to help.

  • Know your friends better:If you want to know what your friends like (based on what they’ve told Facebook anyway), this tool allows you to find that out. Need a book recommendation? Want to know if a movie was good? Looking to see which orthodontist your friends would recommend? If your friends have activity about this, Facebook will let you find it.

What should you do to prepare?

It goes without saying but it is always a great idea to check your privacy settings and make sure that you know what you are sharing on Facebook. Since graph search will eventually make most things you share searchable, don’t set yourself up for embarrassment or surprise. If you want to become part of the beta rollout, sign up for graph search and let us know what you think once you’ve used it.

Michelle Kay Brown is the director of marketing at ZAG Interactive.

  • Social Media

posted by
Michelle Brown
Michelle Brown
VP of Sales & Marketing

ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings.