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Facebook unveils new search engine

Date

Brian Womack

Zoom in on this story. Explore all there is to know.

Steve Zuckerberg ... the Facebook CEO launches Graph Search.

Steve Zuckerberg ... the Facebook CEO launches Graph Search.

Facebook has unveiled a new tool that lets its 1 billion users search for specific content on the social network, in what is seen as a challenge to services already offered by Google, LinkedIn and Yelp.

Graph Search lets users discover people, photos, places and interests, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said at the company's California headquarters. Facebook also showed how the service can be used by recruiters to find potential employees and by members for seeking dates.

Facebook is starting with just a few search criteria in Graph Search. Click for more photos

Facebook Graph Search

Hands on with Facebook's new search engine, Graph Search. 

Zuckerberg said users will be able to tailor their searches, such as by specifying music and restaurants that their friends like, or their favourite dentist. The reverse is also possible, such as discovering friends who have an interest in a particular topic.

When rolled out fully, the tool would give many web users an incentive to spend less time on Google, Yelp's reviews and LinkedIn's professional site. While Zuckerberg said the new feature could be a "business" in the future, he didn't outline how it will make money soon.

"Which is more valuable? Finding a sushi restaurant in New York City or finding one that my friends like," said Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg. "This continues to pit Facebook against Google."

Critics have long deemed the social network's current search capabilities inadequate, but Zuckerberg stressed Facebook was not getting into internet searches — Google's specialty.

"Graph Search is designed to take a precise query and return to you the answer, not links to other places," he said.

Search market

If Facebook introduces more robust advertising based on search results, it could grab five per cent of the US search advertising market, which reached about $US15 billion in 2012, within a year, said IDC analyst Karsten Weide.

The new search feature is also aimed at promoting the discovery of new friends on the network, Zuckerberg said. The service is being rolled out in test mode to a limited number of users, and it's designed to protect user privacy, Facebook said.

Unlike web search, which relies on keywords, Graph Search lets users combine phrases, such as "My friends in New York who like Jay-Z" to find information that's been shared on the social network. It will initially focus on four main areas: people, photos, places and interests, Facebook said.

Facebook also said it has a partnership with Microsoft's Bing search, which will deliver additional results from the web when Graph Search doesn't deliver clear answers to queries.

"This is just some really neat stuff, this is one of the coolest things we've done in a while," Zuckerberg said. "Graph Search is a completely new way for people to get information on Facebook."

Facebook shares fell 2.6 per cent, while LinkedIn and Monster Worldwide slipped amid speculation that Facebook's job-search capabilities might pose a threat to similar features on their own sites. Yelp, a restaurant and business-review website, fell 7.3 per cent.

Bloomberg/AP

10 comments

  • So he wants to take on Google, really? Facebook will never turn over a dime. The only thing Facebook is really used for is GOSSIP. People trolling other peoples pages to see who their friends are and perv at their photos. The ironic thing about that is that was Zookybabys original reason to start Facebook. Remember he wanted people to judge other chicks pictures and rate them. Hilarious.

    Commenter
    Rick
    Location
    NSW
    Date and time
    January 16, 2013, 7:21AM
    • Take on Google..?

      Maybe you should read the article.

      Commenter
      Hanging Judge Jeffries
      Date and time
      January 16, 2013, 7:57AM
    • ^completely agree and so do most of the users i know. what people freak out about most of all is if one day it lists who's visited your page...imagine that!!! knowing who's been stalking your profile lol. Never had an account and never will.

      Commenter
      wan
      Date and time
      January 16, 2013, 8:01AM
    • Another Facebook article, another parade of people proclaiming to all and sundry that they don't use Facebook.

      Commenter
      Spex
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      January 16, 2013, 11:39AM
    • Rick.

      "but Zuckerberg stressed Facebook was not getting into internet searches — Google's specialty."

      Commenter
      My Opinion
      Location
      Perth
      Date and time
      January 16, 2013, 3:44PM
  • Such a creepy product, now creepier.

    Commenter
    ij
    Date and time
    January 16, 2013, 7:28AM
    • Real life social skills of the current tech-gen is all but shot. I would not hire anyone under 30 to be honest.

      Commenter
      Liberator
      Location
      SEQLD
      Date and time
      January 16, 2013, 9:05AM
    • Why would anyone under 30 wants to work for you in the first place? Do you have something good to offer? I'm genuinely curious.

      Commenter
      tester
      Date and time
      January 16, 2013, 10:40AM
    • Yes. I hire and fire and the sub 30s are terrible... just bloody terrible. They cannot go more than 8 minutes without checking the 'smart' phone and Facebook. My business is my own. Question more? Go on.

      Commenter
      Liberator
      Location
      SEQLD
      Date and time
      January 16, 2013, 11:54AM
    • @Liberator

      Ironically you spend copious amount of time on SMH. If I was your employer, should I fire you?

      Commenter
      tester
      Date and time
      January 16, 2013, 1:58PM
Comments are now closed

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