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

Facebook Graph Search photo collage

Photo: 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.

When you first log in, Graph Search prompts you to take a tour.

Suggestions for searches come from profile data—like the college you attended.

From there, Graph Search tries to help you narrow your search.

The search was quite accurate—while I've obscured names, these are friends from college.

With that example in mind, Graph Search now lets you start asking questions.

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.)

Here's a collage of extremely beautiful Ramona fans.

Locations check out—I am a fan of Coit Tower. But this search really reveals how little I use Facebook's location features.

Let's try Facebook for finding restaurants!

Let's narrow it down.

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.

Graph Search also lacks a sense of humour. But hey, maybe that will come in a future release!

Facebook also wants to help you search for apps ...

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