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By Rachel Harner
Facebook graph search. Have you heard of it? Probably, but do you know what it is? Facebook graph search is a new feature, in an ever-growing list of Facebook changes, which rolled out to a select few last week. According to Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, graph search will join News Feed and Timeline as the third pillar in the Facebook structure.
Where a typical search engine would give you a list of links relevant to your query, graph search delivers people, pages and photos already available on Facebook to your fingertips. To maximize results, you’ll want to customize your search using language Facebook understands, such as “friends who work at my company and like to ski.”
Here are a couple practical examples: Are you new to the area and experiencing back pain? Search: Chiropractors in Phoenix my friends like. Are you planning a trip across the pond and want some tips on local hotspots? Search: Friends who have been to London, England.
While innovative, graph search has raised privacy concerns. Many of us probably do not think about the consequence of our actions when liking a page or filling out the “About” section of our profile, but that information will now be searchable in a myriad of ways. If you are looking to keep your information private, triple check your privacy settings now that anything set to “public” will be even easier for others to find. And remember, if you don’t want people to know about it, don’t put it on social media. (Click here for an informative article by the Electronic Frontier Foundation that will help you keep your information private.)
On the other hand, graph search could provide huge advantages for businesses and marketers currently on Facebook. Engaging with customers on social media is a great business practice, and now companies will have more opportunity to get brand content in front of consumers who are intentionally looking for someone in their area of expertise. Graph search will also allow businesses to form well thought out searches to reach targeted demographics.
Do you want to be among the first of Facebook’s billion+ users to get Facebook graph search? Click here to be placed on the waiting list for the beta version.
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