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Introducing Graph Search (facebook.com)
395 points by trendspotter on Jan 15, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 250 comments

This is an important step for Facebook and I'm surprised no one has really mentioned it (all ~50 comments so far are about the graph search).

The big thing here isn't graph search, or the fancy searching per se. The big thing here is this:

> "and meet new people, too."

This is huge. Huge!

Facebook from the start was envisioned as a sort-of dating platform but that part of it got swept under the rug real quick. Throughout Facebook's history meeting people with Facebook has been a slim thing. Typically it was always one way:

Meet in real life -> Add on facebook.

It's only a matter of time until Facebook tries to make it the other way around. It seems they're explicitly avoiding the "dating" route, which may or may not be wise (dating sides have some weird connotations among some groups of people). It looks like they've finally found their solution.

The amazing thing here isn't Graph. It's that Facebook is going to change its paradigm so that meeting new people is a viable goal of going on Facebook.

So eventually we'll be meeting people through Facebook, starting with meetup.com style interests. That's big.

> This is huge. Huge!

Quite the opposite, in my opinion. People don't like being bothered by strangers on Facebook. It's weird and creepy, especially so when it's a guy contacting a girl. This could be seen as a disincentive to share if you don't want your face popping up on search results for people outside your immediate network.

It also makes friends who are ignorant or careless about privacy more of a liability. If they tag you in something that's set to 'public', that thing could now be seen by far more strangers far more frequently. There's no good solution to this: You can harrass your friends about their tagging habits, waste countless hours un-tagging yourself every month, or delete your profile altogether.

I could see it being useful if you could give it commands. Something like: "Invite all friends who like Game of Thrones to my Game of Thrones Event on Sunday at 8PM". Then again, that could just increase the amount of noise on Facebook and drive people away even faster.

> People don't like being bothered by strangers

People love being bothered by strangers. Just try it. Make any half-funny observation about the world around you to a random stranger in the line, at the hairdresser... just not when they're actively doing something. Weather the surprise, repeat what you said if necessary, allow them to come up with a response. If they don't, follow through yourself.

At first it seems like you're a crazy person talking at others. But after a minute (though it'll feel like a little longer) most people will happily talk to you.

And don't think of it as "bothering". You're diverting your precious attention to them. The thing that every website and channel on the planet wants from you.

That used to be just normal, polite behaviour BTW.

You know, there's a difference between 'introverts' and 'extraverts'; those people who stand around and feel awkward if no one is saying anything?

You know? The ones who want to talk to you in elevators? Or just come and stand next your desk while you're trying to do work and talk? All socionormative, smile and handshake?

Maybe you should watch this: http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts....

Here's a thing: If I dont know you, and you want a conversation, catch my eye. If I smile, sure, lets chat.

If I look away, look at my phone, stare out the window.

dont talk to me

Your social obligation to engage is unwelcome

In all seriousness; you need to re-evaluate if you honestly believe "People love being bothered by strangers."

Some people may; many do not. You enjoy bothering strangers. There's a difference.

There's no need to attack him because you assume that he's not empathetic to others or is incapable of reading body language.

I really hope this "introvert fad" slows down soon. There's no need to be so radical, there's a spectrum of personality types. It's not black and white. I identify as an introvert. Social situations exhaust me, so I enjoy them sparingly.

If someone makes a funny comment to me in the elevator, I'll laugh and it's okay. I don't rant to him about my being a recluse.

Thing is, introverts are vastly outnumbered in society. So while his statement is generalizing, it is a good approximation to Facebook's population.

So, for Facebook it doesn't matter. As they always do, first they create something that is seen as violating people's notion of privacy. Then they add some form of setting that allows the introverts and control-freaks like you and me that makes it enough for us to not abandon the site, but at the same time allows to still be users.

Also, there is something funny about how you mention not liking to be bothered by strangers in an Internet forum with 10^6 users, but I digress.


One fourth to a less than a half is not "vastly outnumbered".

PS Or even slightly more than a half: http://www.thoughtful-self-improvement.com/percentage-of-int...


Here's the cliff notes: “But in 1998, researchers were finally able to do what Isabel Briggs Myers could not: an actual population study. The study was based on a national representative sample – 3,009 randomly selected individuals – which, through weighting of underrepresented groups, was made to approximate the distribution of the 1990 U.S. Census. The findings were clear: introverts and extroverts are equally represented in the population.” (emphasis in original)

Honestly, I consider myself extremely introverted, and I do all those things to avoid talking to people, but I kind of wish I didn't. I actually like random people talking to me about random things.

Maybe you're not really that introvert, only a little shy? (yes, I think there's a difference :)

I don't think being an introvert means you don't like talking to people.

I am definitely extremely shy (in person), but I think I'm also very introverted but wish I wasn't.

I regret that I have but one upvote to give.

> At first it seems like you're a crazy person talking at others. But after a minute (though it'll feel like a little longer) most people will happily talk to you.

Yes - but if you watch very carefully you'll notice their eyes darting nervously about, trying to find the nearest exit, and a small frown appear as they attempt to calculate the whether staying in the line is worth it, and the likelihood of you attempting to sell them something or attempt violence if you make your excuses.

In other words - if some random guy starts talking to you in a line, you will tend to make small-talk in return. Whether you like it or not.

That is not my experience at all. Sure, some people will feel uncomfortable, but it shows right away, and I stop. Some people are more open and return the joke, keep the conversation going, etc

That's always nice, for everyone involved (or so I like to think).

Sounds like you are unpleasant for other reasons. Typically, though certainly not always, when I engage random strangers in small talk I see smiles if I engage them confidently with something a little more interesting than "how's the weather". YMMV, etc

You just sound bitter.

.... Wait for it :)

Edit: I'll take your downvotes, but know that there's a joke there you're just not getting.

There are many differences between that scenario and the equivalent on Facebook. Two critical ones:

- the interaction is of a short, definite length. I will probably never see you again if I don't want to.

- the number of real-life encounters I can have in a day are limited by my location in space and time. it's fun to have that happen once a day; I imagine the joy wears off when it's happening 30 times.

For me there is a different between strangers that "found" you directly and strangers that "found" you indirectly, like from graph search. Somehow you can understand more when you meet them directly, although sometime maybe you'll feel unsafe when strangers start "bothering" you.

I kindof get the feeling facebook conveys an autistic interpretation of human social interactions.

"Autistic Social Software" http://www.danah.org/papers/Supernova2004.html

Doesn't talk about FB, as it wasn't yet a dominant force yet.

At first I read that as altruistic, and I was going to agree. In fact, I think that's a more accurate statement than autistic... or perhaps just more optimistic.

This is exactly what I was thinking. I had about 5 seconds of thinking that this was very intriguing. But then I stopped thinking about it abstractly and imagined it in the context of my life. I just can't think of any situation where my desire to connect with a stranger would be stronger than my aversion to attempting to do so. I feel awkward, creepy, and a little unsafe just imagining it. And the feeling is multiplied when I imagine being on the other end.

>If they tag you in something that's set to 'public', that thing could now be seen by far more strangers far more frequently. There's no good solution to this: You can harrass your friends about their tagging habits, waste countless hours un-tagging yourself every month, or delete your profile altogether.

You can also change your profile settings so you have to approve all posts you are tagged in before the tag can be viewed by the public. I've found this to work a lot better for me than untagging

I seem to recall that many moons ago, I set up my privacy settings to prevent others from tagging me in photos.

Revisiting it just now, the options in that section of Privacy are now fairly byzantine, but I think I still have it locked down :-)

>People don't like being bothered by strangers on Facebook

This is true, however the fact that you can search friends of friends means you can look for people you might want to get to know better, and get introduced via your mutual friend. Or be bold and just send them a friend request with a little note, etc.

A friend of a friend is less of a random person than the current facebook search which is actually random.

Obviously it will be abused by some, however I think it is a pretty big deal as a feature

Isn't there already a social network for meeting new people, http://www.tagged.com/

Plus there was anybeat.com - which got shut down http://techcrunch.com/2012/05/09/anonymous-social-network-an...

I came here to say the same thing, I've been actively reducing my time on FB the last year. Now I will be increasing it further.

>Then again, that could just increase the amount of noise on Facebook and drive people away even faster.

How is this any different to just creating an event normally ?

First to replicate OKCupid's compatibility algorithm and automatically do it for Facebook profiles, throw it into a SoLoMo app, then charge $20 to hang out -- what the kids are calling it these days -- your top 5 compatible people and boom! You got a hit. Then watch it get copied.

But it's okay, you'll get the last laugh in another few decades when having a Facebook profile is more powerful than having government issued identification and we're in a topsy turvy world where if the Facebook personality emitting/detecting jewel you have to wear around your neck would light up if someone else compatible is close by for you to mate with.

At least you didn't contribute that to society.

What you describe sounds eerily like the äppärät from Super Sad True Love Story.

Quick, someone grab facebookjewels.com

sounds just like letsdateapp.com

I consider the "meet new people" a downgrade for facebook than an upgrade. I hope that is not a direction they pursue aggressively because it risks making facebook less relevant. One of the things that made facebook different is the expectation that you're somewhat creepy if you just go around friending random people. As a long time facebook user, I prefer it stay that way.

Just to play devil's advocate... creepiness is defined by the generation _after_ you. It's inherently defined, something creeps along, up, or around. So, really, what you think actually doesn't matter. It's what the 16 yo kids think is cool. And if they enjoy spending all afternoon after school going through Facebook profiles, well I guess so it goes.

creepiness is defined by the generation _after_ you


I get the "hook" to lure people onto facebook may change from generation to generation but I wouldn't necessarily say the hook for a newer generation supersedes the needs of the existing generations. If that were the case, facebook would always be focued on building a product for 16-18 year olds. Clearly that hasn't been the case from their past history.

Right now search for people that aren't in your friends-of-friends network is generally broken. When I try to find someone by name/school, name/city etc it returns that no-one exists. I suspect it's some kind of sharding issue and FB search right now isn't global.

To that extent, this is a pretty big thing for them to pull off. I could certainly see it helping their growth if you are finally able to search for people in a more fine-grained way and connect with them.

Some say this may be unwanted -- that's exactly why FB has been testing having people pay to send messages. They know this will be a problem and are searching for solutions.

That's where other social networks differ. On Diaspora for example one probably doesn't know anyone after joining, and you always meet new people. You follow interests, subjects and conversations, not your acquaintances from real life. So it may be "big" for Facebook, but it's routine for other networks.

It might be a routine for others but the big thing here is that facebook found a way to do it and there are a LOT of people already on facebook. That will then make facebook the biggest and most efficient site for this feature.

Hashtags work for that quite successfully (in Twitter and Diaspora). I'm not sure how well will these graphs work in comparison, but it's better than nothing for Facebook.

I have to say when I saw that part I immediately checked my privacy settings.

i seriously don't get it.

myself and around me, people (early 30ies now) all use FB primarily to "stay in touch" with people that are not really close anymore. old colleagues from school, uni, whatever. co-workers? not so much, for that you have linkedin.


1., who exactly should i want to meet out of these people's connections?

2., as no one is using the like button, what exactly is it supposed to data mine?

3., why would i go to FB to search, if my browser automatically searches in google if i start typing in the URL bar? or the search box on iOS.

social search? i want to know which restaurants are recommended by people with taste, not my friends. movie recommendations? i prefer ebert over the people i know.

crowdsourcing is mob rule.

I agree, I can't even keep up with the handful of friends I've known in real life, for decades. Like I really want to make faux friends at web scale.

That said, fb has never made sense to me except through the lens of millennial and boomer narcissism. Maybe they'll lap it up. (I am not intentionally exempting our generation but I've never quite gotten the same vibe as from those who came before and after us.)

No one is using the like button?

I assume you mean "No one is clicking the like button", but of course they are, and even when you don't click the like button Facebook still knows exactly which page you saw it on, and that gives them plenty of information to mine..

Let's see... new search: "Find [single] [females] with [poor self-esteem]". Jackpot!

Dating Schmating.

What a myopic view. Lets take myself, and 90% of the people I know - as real friends. They are all in relationships.

You know what could be "Huge" - creating ad-hoc groups around interests.

Imagine searching for people around you, within a definable degree of separation, that have the same interests where you can do activities.

Meeting people yes - dating does NOT have to be the singular vector for such relationships, that will be a natural secondary. And as a secondary - remains less creepy.

> "and meet new people, too."

This really seems to harken back to facebook circa 2004. Every single comma separated phrase in interests section of your profile was a link that brought up all the other profiles with that phrase in your college network. I suppose some folks discovered each other this way, but it didn't seem very popular. No one cared when facebook disabled it.

Not to mention the ability to run checkbox-based searches across your university network based on a combination of gender "interested in" and "relationship status". Not sure it was lack of use that got that removed...

Completely agree on that. That's actually the very first Facebook feature that got me excited and that might make me go back to Facebook.

This is also the obvious next step for social networks and one that quite a few startups (including ourselves) have been working on for the past couple of years under the "people discovery" banner. Can't wait to see this in action.

So far you can only search entities related to the friends of your friends. A journalist who was at the FB live event said.

For most people, friends of friends is a very large, semi-curated group of people.

The Facebook default sharing (just some timr ago, or still) is that share to your friends of friends. Or at least you could see the images of friends of friends.

Personally, I hope Facebook owns the online dating space in a decade.

It's time for online dating to die. I've had enough of my little sister calling me up with horror stories, like the time a guy's first message was "what's the largest you've taken." No joke.

A world where online dating takes place on Facebook (or Ark) will be a better place.

> Meet in real life -> Add on facebook.

This is facebook's core value prop though. To flip is would be fundamentally flip what facebook's good at - creating a deeper digital connection with ppl you meet in real life.

Meeting ppl on facebook became weird and creepy when they became too open. It wasn't an issue so much when they were closed to college networks. They sacrificed privacy for growth.

On the flipside, consider LinkedIn, where it's not considered creepy to reach out to a complete stranger (recruiters do it all the time). But b/c LinkedIn has a focus (careers) and has more privacy, this is acceptable in their ecosystem.

Net net, I think the only way facebook can be about meeting new ppl and do it well is if they sacrifice openness. Otherwise the creepy factor will undermine success.

Great observation. When I clicked "Try a search" it pulled up people I am friends with who live in my city, but as I scrolled down I saw people I am not friends with included as well. Seems like the next logical step.

Uh. Hi. Facebook seems to think we should date. Wanna go out sometime?

There's a huge problem with this.

For many people, it's creepy to "search out" and find you. Making an initial contact on the internet is a far bigger hurdle in a tight social network like facebook than it is in real life.

For myself, Facebook Groups have actually already done a great deal to put me in a setting with a bunch of new people that I can relate to... and I have made friends that way. From group projects, to school groups, to interest groups. You get to know each other surprisingly well.

Search requires initiative. Initiative is very uncool.

>It seems they're explicitly avoiding the "dating" route

Actually one of the examples shown today was a dating example, one of the Facebook managers who oversaw the product trying to set his wife's cousin up with someone: "friends of people I'm friends with who live in San Francisco and are from India"


Many users have already been adding random people for the social games that have been going for a few years now. Like Farmville or Sorority Life. I know several people who ended up talking to some of those random "game friends" and ended up befriending them in real life. Granted, it hasn't been incredibly common or straight-forward.

Facebook is the place where I share personal things freely because I know its only my family and close friends. I don't let other people get in, and use LinkedIn or Twitter instead. Adding someone on facebook without knowing who the person really is? At least I am not sold.

Isn't this just meetup.com but with the bonus of more "personalised" content tailored to your facebook profile?

I'm trying to work out if this is a good idea or not. Do privacy settings still apply when you join a group?

Right, because meetup.com has a higher market cap than Google. Oh wait. Online dating is not the big thing when compared to online search.

Agree and w/o doubt FB will beyond just friend of a friend - e.g. not too long before they expose three or four degrees of separation?

So the only question is, how would you interact with those newly found people?

Would people just message any stranger? I guess thats not the norm now.

> Would people just message any stranger?

If they want to, doesn't it cost $1 now? Maybe that's the whole idea...

"Siri, set me up on a Facebook Blind Date."

Though I don't trust Facebook.

Sorry but mimicking meetup.com is not a big thing. Very few people like to meet up with strangers regardless of similarities in hobbies/activities. This will cater to a niche crowd and that will be it. This is a great feature on Facebook but let's temper the excitement about its importance.

Graph Search seems like strange branding to me. I almost didn't click the link because I thought "Graph Search" was a new API and not a user-facing product (to be fair, the context was a posting on HN so I was predisposed to think API). Graph Search's real focus appears to be on the use of natural language and the presentation of/interaction with data. The "Graph" is almost the least interesting about it.

Yeah, I agree the branding is odd. To most people, graph still means a dimly remembered plot of sin(x) rather than, you know, a network.

Of course OpenGraph wasn't either open or a graph, but then that was a developer product.

I don't think that branding is for users. I think users will always just see "Facebook Search" when this is eventually rolled out broadly. The "Graph" part of "Graph Search" is for us geeks and for Wall Street. The idea is to obviously differentiate this against Google's "Web Search", "Image Search", and other Thing-Searches.

I agree, this is a terrible name. Their executives don't go outside enough. "Graph Search" means precisely nothing to the average joe.

Is it called that because it is leveraging many feature from the OpenGraph API? Could I accomplish similar things with the API?

I think they chose the name as an homage to the name of how the data is represented from an engineering standpoint. A graph is a data structure that has many nodes connected together. In this case, a node is a person, photo, location, etc, and the edges represent how they are related to each other.

So basically facebook is what facebook was 7 years ago when you could click on a word in a profile and find out everyone else in your (college) network that also had that listed.

I'm glad they brought back functionality they removed forever ago.


Crazy.. I developed a Facebook Graph search about a year ago using FQL queries. It works very similarly to how Facebook implemented their Graph Search. I even put a voice recognizer on top of it. Glad to know that my crazy ideas aren't so crazy after all :)

Link to demo video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=g...

Release it as open source and BOOM :D

I might... It would need a big clean, but what personal project doesn't?

Or not. Doesn't be ashame, it works great (or at least it seems to work great). Meanwhile, upload to any server to give it a try. I really want to test it, and I think it should receive more buzz ;)

What library did you use for speech-to-text? Looks like it's working great..

You should upload the app somewhere and make it available. It seems very cool.

How do you convert from natural language to FQL?

They're going to have the same problem wolfram alpha has, since in the space of "all queries" only a tiny, tiny fraction of them are going to be ones that Facebook can resolve. Now, it might be less of a practical problem since the use cases for FB search are pretty clear and obvious, unlike W|A. But it doesn't sound like this is an open-ended search engine. Imagine typing say "shoes for sale on amazon" and getting "Sorry, Facebook doesn't know how to answer this query." It will quickly pigeon hole the product.

Also, similar to W|A, there is value in the queries themselves since they are mini-algorithms. If someone comes up with a clever query to get FB to say, find me people who I actually might want to hire, it could be valuable. I really hope they build an API on top of this so that startups can build products around novel queries.

> tiny fraction of them are going to be ones that Facebook can resolve

maybe the rest they are going to forward/proxy to Bing.

Didn't think of that! Would be a really smart move.

But how will Bing handle pictures of my friends dogs :-)

Interesting, I wonder how many people would start using this as there only search engine.

That is FB's plan :-)

Not a bad idea. Perform a search, highest ranked results are for friend's content, then fall through to Bing results. The Bing search API (from Azure marketplace) which I use from Clojure and Ruby applications yields good results and since Google no longer offers search APIs, Microsoft gets that business.

Exactly. The less people are reliant on Google, the less power the entire Google+ model has to survive.

On year from now, trying to convince someone to use Google+: "But it's accessible from the google homepage!" "I don't google anymore, I just search facebook"

Maybe that was the plan. They started with the idea to have web search inside FB, to get some money from well established search business.

And the graph search is very good solution/excuse to have the search text box in FB.

1. Weird marketing, the word "Graph" doesn't mean anything to average people. Just call it "Facebook Search". Also these cold hyper emotional sounds kinda turn me off, even Apple has more friendly ads. Did they steal the music from some apocalyptic space movie trailer?

2. Interesting problem, to make all that data available to natural search queries. Definitely an attack on Google who still can't really answer natural queries what Marissa Mayer was talking about ages ago.

3. There is just stuff from Facebook what I think is problematic because people don't share everything on Facebook. If they can expand it onto the whole web, it would be a game changer, but also way more difficult to solve.

4. I can't think of a query I would use this for other than testing it. If I search for Apple, I want to the Apple website. So I think this is more a solution on the search for a problem. Maybe they figure that out when it's out there.

>The word "Grap" doesn't mean anything to average people.

You can say that again!

I swear that was unintentional, fortunately I could still edit it XD

I think the reasoning for "Graph" is that social "network" and "search" have been used and abused too much. They don't want you thinking graph theory algorithms, but they will borrow from graph theory to have a new word.

This is pretty futuristic, it's SQL for non-techies that pulls from Facebook data. The most inquisitive, but not enough to be a programmer and deal with FQL and code, will find this really useful since they can finally make use of all the objects they've acted upon and entities they've acted with.

It makes Facebook data actually... purposeful.

The next step is still to match purpose with intent to make that money.

Our startup is very excited about this part, since we let people earn bounties based on the intelligent connections they can make between people they know and a business offering a particular service or deal. We are curious whether it will be open enough for us to suggest or run searches for an authenticated user to suggest who they should share a particular offer with.

I don't doubt they open it to their platform but at the same time... remember what happened to people playing on Microsoft's Windows platform in the 80's/90's. And from the scuttlebutt I've heard about dealing with FB execs, they're much better at analyzing data, have clout, leverage, money, power, traffic, so it's hard to deal.

I would not recommend anyone pin their entire business model on this; but it certainly comes at a nice time for some companies.

That's a fantastic idea!

Thank you!

I guess i don't get why I should care.

I either have to unfriend people to get it to give me stuff i care about (since it appears to have no way to explain i don't give a shit what my grandma thinks about sushi in palo alto), or it's giving me answers that don't seem better.

I understand they needed to improve their site/internal search, and this looks great for that. But it just doesn't seem like that big a deal to me. What am i missing?

My spin on it is more so positive. At least they still care about product and tackling very difficult questions. This is not some advertising backend optimization or yet another smartphone integration. The fact that most of the speculators missed this entirely is even better news. Facebook is still engineering and technology driven, and this is the hope that keeps all of this still very interesting with much to look forward to.

... Search is how a large portion of money is made on the internet. This is quite obviously a move to stop people from going to Google for some types of monetizable search queries (movies, music, local, etc).

Well for one, it seems like a great way to browse Facebook content using natural language, rather that mouse clicks and page surfing. I like the idea of saying "give me pictures that I like taken in my hometown with my brother", rather than clicking through a bunch of filters.

I for one welcome any new natural language interface that can replace and improve on click interactions.

sure, i get the "better way to work with facebook's site" aspect, and i'm sold on that, but that doesn't seem to be how either facebook or the press is trying to sell it

(I wouldn't be so harsh if it was just the press trying to sell it this way, since the press is always trying to generate clicks :P)

I'm on the same page as you. This is like Google doing a press release because it changed the search algorithm on gmail. It's kind of underwhelming.

"People who live in Palo Alto who like Sushi who aren't my Grandma"

It's the future

ITYM "People who live in Palo Alto who like Sushi who aren't my Grandma or my one friend bob who has horrible taste or oh crap that one guy fred who i accidentally friended or ..."

I don't know anyone who has a very clean social graph that they can formulate sane preference queries about.

I did at one point organize my FB friends into groups like Family, Close Friends, Acquaintances, Distant Friends, People I Know From That One Club, etc. If I were going to use this, I'd probably just filter it to use the Close Friends group. Or if I know I have similar taste to one or two friends, I'd just limit it to them. I dunno, I'm not sure how I feel about this yet, but I can certainly see some ways I could use it.

Indeed. Which is exactly why you're better served using a dataset that includes people you don't know (and ideally who aren't like you or else everyone will segment off into the same couple spots like middle school). The wisdom of crowds doesn't mean the wisdom of your rolodex.

Facebook can solve this algorithmically without you needing to have a "clean social graph" or write complex queries to exclude your grandmother.

Proof? Most of these algorithms build models that do affinity weighting, and then try to guess at how the same some other person is as me (which is hard across such a variety of attributes).

There is no magic, so please explain the math/algorithms you think would work here.

(Sorry, it's just a lot of people wave the magic "algorithm" flag when faced with hard problems)

Well, Facebook can tell how often you interact with certain people. They can determine certain things about the content of those interactions. They can detect how similar your friend graph is to another person's. They know that your grandma is your grandma (if you have told them, of course), and they know, for example, that most people don't want to hang out with their grandma.

I haven't given you pseudocode for an actual algorithm, but I can imagine that Facebook could combine all of these metrics into an index that can tell them roughly how likely you are to want to hang out with certain people.

without you telling explicitly who you want food recommendations from or tech product recommendations from its an incredibly difficult problem. Just because you talk to someone everyday doesn't mean you want their opinion on food or tv shows.

Their "Close friends" algorithm does a pretty good job already. And even if it doesn't I'm sure most people have already removed / added friends as appropriate from that circle.

Facebook also has a bunch of data on how often you've interacted with various friends there .. so that could be one data point. (How often you're tagged in a check-in / photo, how often you've liked a post made by someone else etc.)

Your Your mom / dad / school friends generally may not be a good data point, while your college friends might be.

It'll take a lot of beta testing and tweaking, but I think it can be done.

You're not querying the data to get one answer. You're harnessing existing data to narrow down hundreds of friends into a handful.

How much information on sushi places in Palo Alto is your grandma pumping into the system to dominate that sector? Is she checking into multiple sushi places dozens of times a day? It's like supplementing every google query with -site:4chan.org on the off-chance a search for a camera lens spec or node.js tutorial would lead to 4chan.

Replace "grandma" with "person whose taste in sushi is very different" if it makes you feel better.

Mmmkay, so out of 3 ways to implement ranking:

1) Rank by popularity among all friends.

2) Rank by global number of check-ins.

3) Rank by a one-off friend's preferences.

You think (3) is the way something called GraphSearch works?

This is a great strawman that you've knocked down.

I think it's closer to #1 with "popularity" replaced by "preferences". But that has the problem that i don't care what all of my friends think about most things, or even most of them.

You're not missing anything... that's it. Facebook CEO rolls out search feature.

While I do think that the feature is pretty interesting, I don't think it warrants reporters flying in from all over the country to cover the event. I'd be pretty upset right now if I flew in from a news organization NYC to cover this.

Oh man, I know. I would be furious. Now you have to somehow justify that $10k trip by forcing yourself to make search sound cool and draw views. Now you have to spend your time trying to figure out WHY this feature is worth anyone caring about past a search for "What 18 year old females have recently gotten out of a relationship?"

You don't think most papers who cover Technology might possibly have correspondents in the bay area already?

I'm guessing you don't want to sell cycling gear to people who live in Seattle, either.

This doesn't appear to be live yet. How are you trying out these searches?

I'm watching the demo.

What makes you think that Facebook doesn't calculate an affinity score between each pair of friends and use that to heavily weight search results? The affinity score definitely exists (EdgeRank), and it seems to be used all over Facebook currently, so I suspect it would be a big factor in search.

Single affinity scores would not be very effective since my affinity towards various friends varies with different queries.

You'd need a very large matrix of combinations, which would be really expensive to build, and probably really expensive to use during scoring.

I'm guessing they use something similar to this with a bunch of other ranking signals. I guess i'd just be really surprised if they've actually made it work well.

Usually talking about unpublished, constantly evolving algorithms in simplistic terms is a bad idea. The number of times people talk about Google PageRank in a discussion about "how Google works" is baffling because it's pretty obvious Google has a lot more going on behind the scenes than some simple algorithm in an academic paper.

I never implied that there's nothing else going on behind the scenes with Facebook's algorithms.

Well hopefully with enough data, it can automatically know that you don't care about your grandma's sushi preferences, and deemphasize that information when you search.

Facebook is one of the few things in this 'ideologyless' world that really makes my blood boil.

From the promo video:

  -The world feels smaller…
  Yes, I joined the freaking World Wide Web to narrow my world view.
  -On Facebook, when two people make the same search, they get completely different results!
  That's a feature?
People can't freaking decide where they wan't to eat or go to the movies for themselves?

What's maddening to me is that we are allowing someone like Zuckerberg, who obviously has many talents, but making friends is not one of them, direct our social lives. The sad thing is that it's getting harder and harder to ignore it, from work to friends. I fear that someday I might be forced to join this freakshow.

I'm torn. On one side I really like it, it reminds me of the old People Search feature Facebook used to have. On the other side for third party developers especially those who try to make the Facebook experience better, I'm afraid this is reinforcing the point you should not build 100% on platforms.

I'm sure there are many who have had this idea or are building this currently. Facebook Heroku templates given for new developers to start with, hit on the four main areas that Graph Search seem to provide.

Another example would be a query like

    movies liked by people who like movies I like
In FQL the closest I would have gotten was

   SELECT name, page_id from page where page_id in (SELECT page_id from page_fan where uid in (SELECT uid2 FROM friend WHERE uid1 = me()) and profile_section='movies')
And even then FQL was unstable

So then you wonder, why use an app with an unstable query built on an API filled with bugs when I can faster get the result using facebook.com?

I would be torn too if people used my app, but I like this. Building your own app has it's limits. I built a facebook app to show mutual likes sorted by likes because facebook's pages browser only showed mutual likes sorted by friends. The FQL to do this is slow and unusable if someone has many hundreds of friends and likes. Plus, some friends don't allow apps to query their data, so the result is incomplete.

My feature request would be to allow us to create and share custom FQL and views computed and rendered by facebook. Then, friends don't have to give permission to apps to access their data and facebook runs the query faster.

“I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

in your example, look how difficult it is for a company like netflix that has just about every movie you've seen and rated along with everyone else's. Along with friends lists. Now take Facebook who is trying to apply this generalization along multiple categories. Its going to be very difficult to get right.

Imo, this is a very smart move if the execution lives up. It gives an incentive to put up even more (structured) information to Facebook, such as Likes/people tags/etc., because now there is a more permanent point to it: it can be discovered by someone much later and become useful and interesting, as opposed to it being interesting merely up to a day on the News Feed and then disappearing forever somewhere deep in your timeline.

In other words, it makes building your profile feel additive and even useful.

The marketing value of a Facebook like just soared.

I feel like a Luddite for it incentivising me to remove stuff from a wall I want to be a place for actually interested friends to check out my photos and not a collection of metadata for marketers

Wouldn't it be neat if there was an "anonymous like" that you could use for the benefit of your friends and yourself, but that would be prevented from being revealed in a way that was traceable directly to you? I.e. differential privacy for the facebook crowd.

For me, the potential negatives of leaving a very precise data shadow for marketers and state actors to remember for all time often outweigh any potential benefits, for a whole range of 'codify yourself' opportunities even outside Facebook (e.g. GoodReads, Amazon Wishlist, YouTube subscriptions, etc).

"Anonymous like" #featuresyouwillnevereversee

"What music did my dad listen to when he was my age?" BOOM.

My first Graph Search will be:

Find people on Facebook whose first name begins with Robert'); DROP TABLE users;--

Be careful. You might face 35 years in prison :-/

Too soon, man; too soon.

Why would you do that to little Bobby Tables? Think of the children, man

This product doesn't make sense at all.

I can just query useless data from my peer group or the friends of friends group. Data which I already know and not care about.

But I cannot ask the really interesting questions about all Facebook users:

"Show me all female singles nearby with at least 30 profile photos each"

"Show me all female singles nearby which love to chat and respond messages within 2 hours on average."

"Show all females within one mile and poke them all automatically"

This thing is as it is half-baked: the name, the product, just everything -- far away from being "huge".

BTW, those kind of looking-for-female-singles-in-my-city-queries were very easy in FB's early days for quite a long time. Then, I poked them all in my city and got a conversion (poke2reply) of about 1:15.

By that description, it sounds like Facebook did a good move in restricting this, as well as removing the ability to do it awhile back.

Seriously, females are human too.

That is how I feel. Facebook is a bastardization of technology. We should focus on secure, anonymous approaches. Not stalking applications. That is why no one created Facebook. Because personal information and the like should be protected. Facebook goes the opposite direction.

Great, now I have even more reason to stop tagging friends, like fewer things, tighten my privacy restrictions, and tell friends to stop tagging me or checking me in to places.

I have no interest in my personal info being used for their search engine, nor do I want friends of friends (i.e. strangers) to contact me just because I like the same TV show or went to their favorite restaurant.

If you don't want friends of friends seeing stuff, why don't you just set your privacy to friend's only?

You can't control your friends' privacy settings. If they tag you in something and have their own privacy settings wide open, anyone will be able to see it.

From what I recall you can stop friends from tagging you in photos on FB.

You can make tag approval mandatory, but people can still tag you and you will be bombarded with spam about that tag until you remove it.

This doesn't actually help since your friends control a lot of your privacy. Remember when Mark's sister's photo ended up on Twitter? She had her privacy set to friend's only... It also doesn't prevent friends from tagging you in photos or signing you in places.

She tagged her sister and her sister's friend tweeted it. Not the same.

there is always Path

Not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet, but if you watch the video on the bottom part of the page with Zuck, one of them explicitly says how this product competes with Google. Something about how if two people search for Apple on Google, they'll get the same results, but if they search Apple on FB Graph Search, they'll get personalized results. It's really interesting from a technology perspective the way that search is becoming personalized, and we've definitely seen Google eyeballing search personalization, but it's been limited pretty much to geo and the limited info on G+. Facebook is uniquely positioned to use the volume of data on each person to provide more meaningful results.

From a revenue perspective, I think this is definitely competitive to Google. Not saying it will succeed, but businesses will definitely see value in advertising to hyper-specific segments and personal groups. It sounds strange to say, but I do think UI and speed will be key components of whether FB GS will do well. Search is a convenience market, and if FB GS isn't convenient, Google is always one click away.

> one of them explicitly says how this product competes with Google. Something about how if two people search for Apple on Google, they'll get the same results, but if they search Apple on FB Graph Search, they'll get personalized results.

Except that's not true. Google personalizes results for users and also sometime integrates social aspects (through Google+).

If I search for pizza I see a map of pizza places close to me, their average reviews, links to find out more, photos, etc etc. I don't know if a Facebook friend once at a slice there, but I also don't care whatsoever and would rather not see it to be honest.

>Google personalizes results for users and also sometime >integrates social aspects

Right, except this doesn't actually work unless all of your friends work at Google.

You don't have to use Google+ news stream if you want to get personalized search results, if that's what you're trying to imply (by friends working at Google). Search personalization is achievable by other means if necessary: past searches, searching while logging in with Google account, YouTube searches. Facebook is essentially trying to do the same, with much less product spectrum and more desperation as it gets more boring and uncool.

The social aspects I assume? Personalization absolutely works as it brings up a map of all the pizza places closest to me. Your search shows all the places closest to you.

Yeah that was a little bit of an exaggeration but I kind of see her point. Personalization in search engines is mostly at the cohort level, not at the individual. To use your example of a local search, the results are the same for the few thousand people who live in that zip code. More broadly, search engine results are not personalized as much as they are sensitive to location, gender, broad preferences, etc. Facebook results, on the other hand, really involve you as a person on a very fine level - your friends, etc.


1. it treats data from all friends (presumably) equally. Presumably in real life you weigh opinions of different friends differently.

2. search can only take place on information that your friends are willing to share publicly (or at least with all their "friends"). Presumably in real life opinions you get from people you know will be way different if they know it is a private exchange.

3. isn't this all a bit high on the autism spectrum? The idea that to find out information about the likes and dislikes of your "friends", you log onto a computer and do what amounts to a database search, rather than just ASK YOUR FRIENDS ???

Good points.

With number 3, if you just ask your friends, there's no chance for advertisers to get involved in that transaction. Facebook is a business where the things you express to friends and family are the currency with which you pay for the service.

"Free and always will be" is a lie when factoring in your personal views, information, recommendations, and content are the currency used.

You can always leave FB, but you'll be losing connections you depend on for emotional and social reasons. Facebook knows this, that's why they have you by the balls.

As an outsider, I'm seeing a new wave of business-reliance on FB which will mean the FB logo spreading to every shop, ad, website etc. From the local bakery to bike shop, "Find us on Facebook" posters clumsily displayed in big fat graphics. More than ever, I'm not interested in joining.

This new business-reliance will alienate those who joined to connect with people.

Future generations hopefully won't tolerate such a blatant sellout of personal connections, a stupid hi-jacking of the word "like" - which once belonged to people who liked things.

Marketing and search engines don't belong as an invisible force underlying your communications with close friends or family. That is so wrong it's poisonous.

Zuckerberg said it best: "dumb f--ks".

This is Facebook trying to become Google. +1 for ambition. But lousy product and mostly meh. It's not a Google killer.

People go to Google to search for lots of stuff they want to know more about. Movies, sports, homework, whatever. And when they need that particular mouthwash, where do they think of first? Google. And thus the power of AdWords. The habit of general searching causes you to turn to Google when you're seeking a product.

Mark Z is smart, and recognizes this dynamic. So he's trying to create a destination for your search queries. The problem for him is that people already have a habit he needs to break. And what he's offering as an incentive to break it is pretty weak tea. How often will the average user (grandma in Peoria) turn to Graph Search? Not often enough to break her Google habit.

+1 for effort and ambition - but I doubt this is going to be much more than hype.

Some of the examples in the promo videos are pretty far-fetched. I mean, does anyone really give Facebook any information about which dentist he or she goes to? I've never even seen a post from someone talking about going to the dentist, let alone including the dentist's actual name!

No, but if lots of people who aren't associated with you have liked a specific dentist, then that dentist would be top of the search for dentists in your town.

One of the side effects of people actually using graphsearch would be that businesses need to have more likes than their competitors, to enhance their FB SEO. Therefore, we'll likely see even more FB ads for nearby businesses trying to get you to like their page.

You touch on a related point... ranking a business by number of likes is pretty useless. Facebook is going to have to introduce some kind of point rating system like Yelp or Netflix for this to be useful at all.

I recently recommended a dentist to a friend - in a thread on his FB wall. So yes, it happens.

Interesting to compare against Path (they announced search on 12/20 - http://www.wired.com/business/2012/12/path-social-archive/):

Path: search personal events; discovery via proximity (nearby)

Facebook: search graph events; discovery via common interest

Seems like facebook trying to hone in on cases like dating (discovering people with common interests), and interest discovery (ie, restaurants that others like). Path seems more about making most of personal time (creating life events) in the context of a social environment.

It seems like Facebook graph search has a lot more functionality, or maybe I just can't discover how to do everything that Path can do with search.

I did discover that it can do delightfully strange things like if you search for "snow" it finds all the moments that happened when it was snowing, even if the moment does not have the word "snow" in it. So it must link location and weather history with moments, which is pretty cool!

So Path has a lot of potential. I think the search interface just needs some work to expose more functionality like Facebook is.

Facebook's intent is really obvious - they are trying to replace "raw" Internet with the Facebook layer, and people would do all interactions: social, searches, shopping through their layer. This would render other companies like Google, Yelp, you name it obsolete. The problem however is in the details: how can anyone trust Facebook with their private data, searches etc. considering all the privacy issues, lack of user's control over their data, etc.? Once you're in the Matrix, you cannot unplug. That's what Facebook is trying to bring to the users.

I don't understand why people think this is going to be useful.

The inbuilt assumption is that people care enough about the data to want to search it frequently and thoroughly. I don't think that is true. Facebook is mostly ephemeral junk data that you don't care about; this has been true ever since they changed their UI to the Twitter-style "what are you thinking right now?" input / streaming.

In order for search to be useful they first have to backtrack heavily on what their entire platform is about. Which would be hard.

"Everyone on Facebook who isn't blocked by you can search for you, but what they can see in search results about you depends on what's shared with them.

Search results respect your privacy settings, whether it's info you’ve shared, or posts with tags of you that others have shared."

My Facebook profile is currently set to not be visible in search, because I don't want people who I didn't explicitly give my Facebook link to be able to find me. Will Facebook continue to respect this setting?

Am I the only one that doesn't usually click on "like' things? I mean things like 'dancing', 'outdoors' or 'Game Of Thrones'. Even if I like them. First, because I don't think one day "hey, I like dancing, so I think I should state it on Facebook so everyone knows!" And second, because most of the times, liking something gets your timeline full of useless updates.

Not sure if is something that adds real value for users. We'll see...

Well, part of the reason they designed their search this way is probably to encourage people to like more things. Because now when you like things, you're also helping out your friends, by giving them a recommendation some time in the future. If Facebook advertised that bit in some way, or just if they design the user experience right so that you continue to be encouraged to like things or enhance your profile, then they should be able to adjust user behavior a bit.

I was thinking the same things, but I just took about half hour to map out my books/tvshows/movies/sports/activities and enter them all because they are now potentially searchable. For example, if one of my friends also read a book I liked, that's something I'd be happy to know.

Yes, but, do you think that is something that you'll keep doing? The main idea is that Facebook keeps track of all that information, and you have to feed it.

It is possible that FB will "capture" status messages to add to that information. E.g. saying something like "Great Game Of Thrones show today!" will get converted into "like GoT", but it can be difficult, as there are a lot of info that you don't usually comment on Facebook. How many books did you read in your life? Are you listing them all in FB?

I think that anything that needs specific "maintenance" can be difficult to keep up-to-date in the long run, and you'll end with people that liked a group for a couple of years and got tired of, etc...

Here's what Facebook doesn't get. I have 580 friends on Facebook. These are all people I've met in real life at least once. I care, honestly, about maybe 50 of them. And of those I care about, I want to know what's going on in maybe 10 of those 50 friends' lives. Ask my how much I care about people who aren't friends with me on Facebook. About as much as I care about anybody on the internet on any site.

Actually, that's what's great about Facebook: they probably already know who those 10-50 friends are based on your activity on the site, your location, your photos.

They know your best friends based on your actions versus who you might list if they asked you who your best friends are -- which might be a more accurate way of figuring it out anyway.

yeah but out of those 50 you may only want 10 that are knowledgeable about food, and in the greater 500 list you may want 10 that are knowledgeable about tech. Just because you're close to someone doesn't you mean you value their opinion as highly on every subject.

Especially as you get older, and your friendships diversify.

Which is why they're working on a more intelligent feed http://www.businessinsider.com/mark-zuckerbergs-right-hand-m...

This bears much more resemblance to Wolfram|Alpha than it does to Google Search.

Glad to see natural language interfaces are finally going mainstream.

The example queries remind me of Prolog.

Well, not in terms of syntax :).

No, I think they're probably doing proper natural language parsing, and from there hand-coded translation to (their internal version of) FQL.

I wonder how flexible their grammar is. It'll be pretty easy to reverse engineer the techniques they are using by looking at failure modes of parses and how intelligently they correct fall-throughs.

...in the sense that it is:

  query is term1(person) & term2(person) & term3(person) ...

  query :- term1(p), term2(p), term3(p)

So... it's either algorithmic stalking or it's nothing that new, right? I'm going for algorithmic stalking. Now, to really be effective, I guess they're going to have to add "graph alerts" so one can get notified when (totally hypothetically), any friend of a friend living in the same city with more than n friends (to screen out the losers; replace n with your own threshold) changes her relationship status to "single". Or I guess one can just keep a saved search/smart folder of "prospects" (stalkees?) that can be "checked in" on from time to time; maybe set up a mobile alert that pings you whenever one of them is in/near your neighborhood.

So, I can see why advertisers or businesses might like this, and I can see why grudge-holding exes might like this, but I can't really see why I would want to be stalked. Thank god Facebook has such transparent and persistent privacy settings, or I'd really worry!

(yes, this is over the top)

I may be being a bit of a braggadocio, but the 5-person startup I work for in featured in their blog post announcing the product... pretty unexpected coverage!


Honest question: why would I want to ask Facebook a question about my friends, when I can just ... ask my friends?

If only I could buy a developer account so I did not have to be a Facebook user to integrate with them.

Pretty awesome that Facebook could pull this off so quickly. I literally said that exact line to Lars (who lead the search team) during our meetings last year... I can't believe he reused verbatim in the video:

"Facebook is for the all the people you know... Ark is for all the people you should know".

You're right, he does highlight the distinction between people you know and people you should know. I instantly thought of Ark when hearing about this. I'd like to see how they and Ark might facilitate those connections once you've identified them. If I'm traveling abroad and meet someone from the same small town, I don't know how inclined I'll be to message them. Not to mention, those messages in Facebook get lost in the "Others" section where I've heard countless stories of people discovering important messages months later.

I voted up this article because I just wanted to read something technical on HN.

would just like to point out:

Google started moving towards a more social experience from search engine by adding google plus.

Facebook started move towards a search engine from social experience by adding graph search.

They are definitely lined up to converge at a giant battleground, both coming from opposite sides of the spectrum.

Both will come with different strengths, however, Google's integration of its plus network is FAR superior, both technically, and in the sense of having a plan. Whether we use it or not, it is already stealing data from us, even if we dont know it.

IMO, google has no adversaries. FB is doing this for the fun of it.

Wow. There are a lot of interpretations on why this is HUGE - a game changer.

In addition to what's been mentioned above, this is the shot across the bow of Google. I suspect Google has better search, but their social graph is much worse. (Google+ is only extensively used by their captive audience) The search on Facebook will get better over time, and they have the better social graph. This also gives them a new "neat" factor that will keep people coming back, especially those bored of seeing cat and children photos from long forgotten friends.

Yet another reason to abandon Facebook. It is getting creepy and creepier.

For a company that claims to understand the importance of mobile, why are the videos still in Flash? There is absolutely no reason they couldn't have used HTML5 with Flash fallback here.

I just watched them on an iPad. Perhaps it's The other way round?

Really? I tried viewing from an iPad and saw the following message: https://tabuleapp.com/u/files/image_135827900654910.jpg

Imo, facebook is really focusing on the wrong things here. I'd have been much more enthusiastic if they offered me tools for better control over my data, for example (incidentally, I had to spend 40 minutes just the other day using a Greasemonkey script to erase my entire Timeline). Or if the chat would be less clumsy. Or if they added cloud-based tools to groups, similar to Google Docs.

I can't really explain what's going on in their heads… Perhaps I'm just completely out of their target market, who knows.

Oh so they finally noticed Quora and Google+. Good on them.

Interest based social networks will replace the hodge podge of specialty forums using anonymous names you see all over the web.

I'm really not sure about that...

There are lots of forums (guns, cars, gambling, I.T. security, ...) where people are very careful about what they post.

I think, on the contrary, that with all that push by FaceBook and G+ to try to reduce your anonimity more and more we'll see more and more specialized forum putting an emphasis on anonimity.

I even believe there's a wide open door for a pseudonymous social network. One where people really know each other (you can only add if you know the person in real life) but where it is specifically forbidden to use any real name.

I'm curious as to the political implications of this, given social media's increasing presence in recent civil uprisings and government monitoring.

That ship already sailed. Facebook cooperates pretty extensively with law enforcement, so while they're announcing a nice, friendly consumer interface, law enforcement already has way more data than you'll have access to through this feature.

I think this has really interesting consequences in combination with the "pay money to send messages to people you aren't friends with" feature Facebook's been testing lately. That's the revenue potential I immediately saw in this product with the demo search for "people who like cycling in my hometown"--you can find them for free, but it will cost you to contact (or direct market to) them.

Interestingly Facebook's recent "Facebook Global University Hackathon" was won[1] by students who also utilized natural language processing.

Here is the previous discussion: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4871854

[1] http://velocity.uwaterloo.ca/news/facebook-hackathon

"Thanks for signing up for our beta. When Graph Search is ready you'll see an announcement on Facebook and you can switch to the new experience."

Facebook, Please consider adding the following clause to all queries: AND WHERE deleted_at IS NULL OR deleted_at = '' OR private = ''

I like the idea of having a query language for facebook data. I just don't like the idea of having any of my things come up in any search. And yes, I quit FB a long time ago, but my spidey sense is tingling that FB didn't quit on my data.

A new API to see what people build before acquiring first couple of apps and throttling access?

Being able to weight my Google results with demographic or social graph attributes would be more useful for me - especially with purchases.

'restaurants in 10km range popular with 30-40 age professionals'

'most popular cookery books up to 3rd degree connections'

'top movies my close friends watched last week'

The major trend of Facebook is that it is making the world smaller by making the people you interact with a smaller bubble. This may be a very good thing. Sometimes, though, it makes me feel like we're carrying out a new type of social hierarchy by only interacting with people we are like and are friends of friends with.

It will not compete with my google searches, I usually search for wikipedia articles, homework questions, and programming tutorials/help... Seeing people with similar interest is cool but I already do that with meetup.com (very nice in Boston). I am just out of touch with most of facebook target audience? I guess so.

FB search as it is not capable to become kickass end-user-oriented product yet, it's more like a set of technologies that could be used by app developers to create cool dating\hiring\recommendation services and widgets using real-time api requests. The best apps will be acquired by Fb or just copied :)

Am I missing something?

The query, at one point, is "People who like Cycling and live in Seattle, Washington" yet the 2nd person "card" clearly states they live in San Francisco, California.

Pic: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2148004/Screenshots/~-mm.png

It's just a mistake in the demo video...

Looking at this from a different angle: it seems new to me to see Mark Zuckerberg doing an announcement of a new feature. The video at the bottom reminded me of an Apple ad (toned down and without Jony Ive's accent).

I wonder if this is part of a new strategy of pushing him out to the public a little bit more.

I think this a big deal.

The first step to a Yelp killer? Type in "Italian Restaurant" and get back list of all the restaurants your friends have checked into. A recommendation engine.

For now, its mostly to filter your facebook data. But do you think it can expand and become the goto search engine, ala google?

It could maybe work if they do it like Netflix: build a profile of you based on what you have rated highly, and put you in a pool with similar people (friends or otherwise), thus providing more accurate recommendations.

But I think Facebook overhypes how much people care about their friend's preferences, at least for most things. We generally don't pick friends based on how closely their shopping/eating/whatever habits match ours.

At my company we've been arguing this same point for years. It doesn't matter what your friends like; it matters what people with similar interests like. Rarely are your friends and family a reflection of all of your likes and dislikes. I'm sure some psychologist could point out the low probability of forming friendships with people who are exactly like you.

It seems like Facebook and other social networks took the idea of asking your friends for a recommendation on a good doctor or auto shop and twisted it into some overly simplified premise that if one friend likes something, all of my friends will like it too.

Agree. There are a large class of Facebook applications that are really UIs slapped on top of graph search queries. I guess this would get really interesting in a practical sense once Facebook opens up an API for these queries.

You're describing foursquare.

Yes. A better comparison.

Very cool! Can't say much else until I try it. I have a large number of conservative friends who have enabled every privacy setting and provide minimal meta-data, so I already know it won't be as the PR video depicts.

Anyway, This reminds me of of the Google+ search by www.findpeopleonplus.com

Graph Search in one sentence (based on what I see it as): Search built around friends, not links.

All the people who support this keep saying how everyone else is going to use the tool to do x, y, or z, but they haven't said what they themselves would do with it.

So I ask, when you have access to Graph Search, what is the first thing you'll do with it?

I don't quite see how this is big competition for Google (yet). Facebook GS can return me more data about my friends than Google can, but Google can return more results for general information. These seem very different from one another.

Two things:

- "The interface fundamentally determines the behavior" and this thing has a real great interface. I just don't see how this could be integrated into the facebook home screen (newsfeed).

- I wonder how long does it take google to copycat this thing.

I have a feeling this is more to announce facebook's intent to compete in search than a product they actually expect people to use. Really it sounds like a precursor to facebook's google competitor.

The video created by Facebook that explains their new "Graph Search" feature.


This is exactly what one would hope from a huge structured data set.

It is (or was) live for me. I can take a screenshot for you guys.

Looks cool, but what is the fallout? Will Google force feed us + a bit more so that they can match/better these types of search results.

I need to permanently move to DuckDuckGo

This is also on the front page: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5061347.

Everything old is new again.

Back in `05, the facebook would let you search for people by interest, or age, or sex. Can't imagine why they stopped that.

Big! Search will fit seamlessly in the Facebook experience. I bet we soon forget that Facebook didn't always have this function.

This creeps me out more than anything. I already know where I like to hang out and who my friends are... I go to freenode.

So it's just building custom queries? I guess it's novel that you can save the queries and see it as a "feed".

I wonder if searching for "Single friends of friends" would work. Optionally with "who like x".

Whatever the positives or negatives, the tech behind this effort would be super duper cool.

Social searching is the new business. and with Facebook doing it, it will go miles.Huge!!!

So Ark, Facebook just Facebooked ya.

Their front page demonstration has an error. http://imgur.com/J7r73

one question. Any cool new changes to the Graph API? Doesn't look like it.


Try it in Incognito?

Yep, here too.

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