Facebook Launches Graph Search, Takes Aim at Google
In its first major press event at its Menlo Park headquarters, Facebook announced Graph Search, a tool that would allow Facebook users to search for relevant information about their lives using data from their friends. The social networking giant showed off searches for keywords such as “top restaurants” for dining searches and “single friends of friends” for dating related searches.
A mysterious, low-on-details announcement circulated last week during the time of the CES electronics show set the stage for today’s press event, leading to speculations on what the topic could be, including Facebook’s potential launch of its own smartphone lineup.
In the end, the announcement revolved around a product that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had promised at last year’s D8 event to AllThingsD’s Walt Mossberg, where he said that Facebook was focusing on search.
Taking the stage at Menlo Park today at 10 am PST, Zuckerberg delivered on that promise. While clarifying that “Graph Search is not web search,” he said that Facebook was indexing a “map of the graph” referring to the internal database graph that is created when users link to friends on Facebook or initiate some social activity such as liking a photo.
Zuckerberg went on to say that Facebook was adding a “million new people” every day and that the social networking giant’s graph encompassed over 1 billion people, 240 billion photos and 1 trillion connections.
Zuckerberg and several members of Facebook’s technical staff then proceeded to show demos of Graph Search, typing in keywords such as “single men who are friends of friends” and “restaurants that my Indian friends like” to find results in their Facebook network relevant to their searches.
Facebook said that Graph Search was in limited beta and would be available to a larger group of users over the upcoming weeks and months.
Irrespective of the coolness of the Graph Search feature and how many people start using it, Facebook is under pressure to show improved financial results and make Wall Street happy. Its stock has in the past few days shown signs of climbing back up, but the continued success of Facebook and whether it makes Wall Street happy will depend on its financial success.
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