We Got A Look At Facebook’s New Graph Search—Here’s How It Works

Facebook Graph Search photo collage

[credit provider=”Owen Thomas, Business Insider”]

Facebook struggled with naming its new search feature, fearing that anything with “search” in the name would make people think of a Web search engine like Google. After playing with Graph Search, we can see why naming the product was so hard.

This is not Google Web search—it’s something completely different.

Instead of searching the Web based on keywords, Graph Search looks at your connections and interests to come up with relevant results for people, photos, places, and interests. These are generally results for which a Web search would come up empty—like “places I visited in 2010” or “photos of my friends taken before 1980” or “restaurants my friends like.”

The interface strongly guides users to doing these kinds of searches, responding with plain-English suggestions for questions.

Facebook is calling the feature “beta,” which is a technology-industry way of saying it’s not finished with its development and there may be bugs or strange behaviour.

You most likely won’t have access to Graph Search right away, as Facebook is rolling out very slowly, but you can request access to the beta right here.

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[slide
permalink=”when-you-first-log-in-graph-search-prompts-you-to-take-a-tour-1″
title=”When you first log in, Graph Search prompts you to take a tour.”
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permalink=”suggestions-for-searches-come-from-profile-datalike-the-college-you-attended-2″
title=”Suggestions for searches come from profile data—like the college you attended.”
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permalink=”from-there-graph-search-tries-to-help-you-narrow-your-search-3″
title=”From there, Graph Search tries to help you narrow your search.”
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permalink=”the-search-was-quite-accuratewhile-ive-obscured-names-these-are-friends-from-college-4″
title=”The search was quite accurate—while I’ve obscured names, these are friends from college.”
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[slide
permalink=”with-that-example-in-mind-graph-search-now-lets-you-start-asking-questions-5″
title=”With that example in mind, Graph Search now lets you start asking questions.”
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[slide
permalink=”sometimes-the-results-are-funny-when-i-searched-for-photos-i-like-i-discovered-that-my-habit-of-reflexively-liking-every-single-photo-posted-by-former-business-insider-writer-matt-lynley-shaped-what-graph-search-returned-if-id-been-more-selective-about-liking-photos-the-search-might-have-revealed-more-than-my-puckish-social-networking-habits-6″
title=”Sometimes the results are funny. When I searched for “photos I like,” I discovered that my habit of reflexively liking every single photo posted by former Business Insider writer Matt Lynley shaped what Graph Search returned. If I’d been more selective about liking photos, the search might have revealed more than my puckish social-networking habits.”
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[slide
permalink=”the-ultimate-vanity-search-photos-of-me-that-i-like-darned-if-i-dont-look-good-7″
title=”The ultimate vanity search: “Photos of me that I like.” Darned if I don’t look good.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50f5cfcb6bb3f79e43000014″
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permalink=”i-have-a-high-opinion-of-people-who-like-my-dog-ramona-the-love-terrier-yes-she-has-a-facebook-page-stop-giving-me-that-look-8″
title=”I have a high opinion of people who like my dog, Ramona the Love Terrier. (Yes, she has a Facebook page. Stop giving me that look.)”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50f5cfcc6bb3f79e43000017″
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permalink=”heres-a-collage-of-extremely-beautiful-ramona-fans-9″
title=”Here’s a collage of extremely beautiful Ramona fans.”
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title=”Let’s try movies! I’m a fan of “Clueless.””
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permalink=”but-i-dont-find-these-results-very-compelling-everyone-likes-the-original-star-wars-11″
title=”But I don’t find these results very compelling. Everyone likes the original “Star Wars.””
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permalink=”some-results-are-shocking-none-of-my-former-colleagues-at-gawker-media-that-haven-of-pop-cultural-ironics-like-clueless-12″
title=”Some results are shocking: None of my former colleagues at Gawker Media, that haven of pop-cultural ironics, like “Clueless”?”
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[slide
permalink=”locations-check-outi-am-a-fan-of-coit-tower-but-this-search-really-reveals-how-little-i-use-facebooks-location-features-13″
title=”Locations check out—I am a fan of Coit Tower. But this search really reveals how little I use Facebook’s location features.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50f5cfcf6bb3f79e43000026″
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[slide
permalink=”lets-try-facebook-for-finding-restaurants-14″
title=”Let’s try Facebook for finding restaurants!”
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[slide
permalink=”lets-narrow-it-down-15″
title=”Let’s narrow it down.”
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[slide
permalink=”yelp-has-nothing-to-fear-these-results-are-awful-my-friends-have-bad-taste-in-restaurants-or-facebook-just-doesnt-have-enough-good-data-16″
title=”Yelp has nothing to fear. These results are awful, my friends have bad taste in restaurants, or Facebook just doesn’t have enough good data.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50f5cfd06bb3f79e4300002f”
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[slide
permalink=”graph-search-also-lacks-a-sense-of-humor-but-hey-maybe-that-will-come-in-a-future-release-17″
title=”Graph Search also lacks a sense of humour. But hey, maybe that will come in a future release!”
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[slide
permalink=”facebook-also-wants-to-help-you-search-for-apps–18″
title=”Facebook also wants to help you search for apps …”
content=”Take A Look At Facebook App centre >
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[/slideshow]