Social media giant's search engineering lead on developing Facebook's Graph Search and why it won't be another Google Wave.
On Wednesday, Zuckerberg and Rasmussen showed the rest of the world an early beta version of the feature called Graph Search. The term refers to “the social graph,” Zuckerberg’s omnibus term for the database of links inside a social network.
For today, Graph Search is a natural language query inside a Facebook search box. It uses a limited vocabulary focused on people, places, photos and interests.
Among the demo queries:
Restaurants in San Francisco my Indian friends like (Look out Yelp)
Friends of my friends who are single men in Palo Alto born in India (Look out eHarmony)
Project managers who are founders and friends of Facebook employees (Look out recruiters)
TV shows liked by software engineers (Top item: The Big Bang Theory)
Music liked by people who like Mitt Romney (Top item: Johnny Cash)
Zuckerberg called such graph searches the third pillar for Facebook after its news feeds and timelines. He said it would be the basis of the social networking giant’s long term future.
But Graph Search is starting slow with a few hundred or thousand beta users with queries using a limited vocabulary in four confined domains—people, photos, places and interests. “We will roll this out very slowly [because] we need to get data on how people will use it,” said Zuckerberg in a press conference at Facebook headquarters.
Even if users love it, there are mountains of data to index before users can search data from posts and in languages beyond English, for example. “It will take years to index a map of the graph and what’s out there,” Zuckerberg said.
Nevertheless, he was bullish. “This is one of the coolest things we have done in awhile,” he said, wearing his signature black hoodie. “Graph search is a completely new way for people to get information on Facebook,” he said.