Facebook has announced its new search tool ‘Facebook graph search‘ allowing users to do a much more in depth search from ‘friends who like mountain biking in Scotland’ to ‘photos I liked in 2005′ on the social networking platform. This new addition to Facebook will be a bigger search bar with search suggestions. Once the search has been entered you will be re directed to the search results page allowing you to further customize and edit the search. The results will vary from user to user.
Facebook believes this new feature will enable users to easily find friends with similar interests, meet new people with similar interests, meet new people in a certain location, explore photos, help companies recruit, discover places and restaurants to visit.
I can certainly see the benefits of having a more in depth search tool to use within Facebook, however as I read more about it I cant help but wonder ‘how reliable will the search results actually be’ ?
I know many people who try their best to keep their social lives (shared on Facebook) and work two very separate things. In fact the same persons LinkedIn profile and Facebook profile can show a person in two completely different ways. This is where the benefit of using Google plus really comes in to play, allowing the user to post certain things publicly, directly with family or friends by selecting the circles to share with before clicking ‘share’. LinkedIn is all about recruiting and companies are starting to use it more because it quickly allows them to find the best people for the position and reach many more candidates than using an offline recruiting method. As a tool it is great for someone looking for a job keeping them up to date with the latest openings that may be of interest. I struggle to see how Facebook can help recruiters find the right people because as I have said many people would rather keep work and play separate and LinkedIn has this area of social networking covered.
Being able to change the privacy settings on a users account is a great feature allowing the user to limit access to their Facebook account but surely this will backfire on the quality of the search results for Facebook graphs. If the search tool takes into account users privacy preferences then will people with high privacy setting show up in results and if they do will they want to?
Photos / Places
Currently users cannot see all the photos they have liked since joining Facebook so I think this part of the search will be fun. However using ‘photos my friends have taken in London’ as a search term will depend upon weather or not friends have actually mention London or checked in on the photo. Personally I tend not to check into every place I go and if I take a picture in London 99 times out of 100 I will not mention London and by the time I come around to uploading the picture I may be in a different city. An example of this was when I was travelling in Europe and uploaded some photos when I was back in London, on Facebook pictures taken in Poland were showing up as in London. So this makes me question how reliable will search results be for places and photos.
Inaccurate profiles will further more decrease the quality of the search results. Some people have up to date Facebook profiles but what about all those people who are not constantly updating their information every time they visit a new place, take a picture, eat at a restaurant, change job, develop new interests and move house?
These are just my preliminary concerns with Facebook graphs but I am looking forward to using it and seeing if these concerns are a reality or Facebook can manage to pull this off. Either way I with this will be an exciting new addition to the platform.