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By 16 January 2013 | Categories: news

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Social networking behemoth Facebook has announced a new way to navigate its billion users, 240 billion+ photos and one trillion connections - a feature dubbed Graph Search (GS). Although still in beta phase, it will enable users to employ graphs to make new connections.

The firm explained that GS and web search are very different, since web search is designed to take a set of keywords such as ‘rap music’ and provide the best possible results to match these.

GS on the other hand, taps into Facebook rather than the net. It enables you to combine phrases for instance ‘my friends in Cape Town who likes Kanye West’, to provide results. It includes a set of people, places, photos and other content that has been shared on Facebook and which is relevant to your search.

Another difference between GS and web search is that certain content on Facebook has been made private or is only available to people that a user shared it with. Facebook asserts that GS is being developed with privacy in mind, so although it makes finding new things easier on the site, it will still adhere to users’ privacy settings regarding to their content.

How does it work?

Graph Search will appear as a bigger search bar at the top of each page. When you search for something on Facebook, that search not only determines the set of results the user is shown, but also serves as a title for the page. Users will be to edit this title in order to create their own custom view of the content a user and their friends have shared on the site.

The company has revealed that the first version of GS focuses on four main areas, namely people, photos, places, as well as interests:

  • People searches can include friends who live in my city, people from my hometown who now live in Pretoria, or journalists who work in Johannesburg for example.
  • Photos: You will be able to perform searches for photos of my family, photos of my friends before 1994, or photos of my co-workers in Durban for instance.
  • Places search examples include restaurants in Johannesburg my friends like, cities visited by my family, as well as Chinese restaurants liked by my friends from China.
  • Interests searches include music my friends like, movies liked by people who like films I like, languages my friends speak, and strategy games played by friends of my friends.

In other social networking related news, Pulse, the news reader apps for Android and iOS has received yet another update that adds catering to social media sites to its feature set.

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