Column: Is Facebook’s graph search worth its salt?
On Monday, Facebook began the official rollout of its Graph Search feature, which many Facebook users have been using in beta version since late winter.
The new feature allows a person to put together queries such as “friends who like Radiohead” or “friends who have been to Alaska,” and brings up results from information that’s beenshared by Facebook users.
Mark Zuckerberg has said that Graph Search is different from Web search because it fulfills a different need for Internet users. He has called it the site's third pillar, after Timeline and Newsfeed.
In a news release, two Facebook executives who introduced Graph Search on the site wrote: “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."
The new search employs Facebook’s vast scale of user data and further illustrates how varied and specific the social network’s information database is. Here’s the question, though: Is Graph Search actually useful?