When it comes to the number of users and ad revenue generation, the social media giant Facebook is perhaps the number one competitor of Google. Last year, Mark Zuckerberg thought that it’s time to offer something that their competitor is known for and thus was born a new search feature of Facebook named "Graph Search".
Graph search helps you find immediate information about people, places and things you are searching for. However, unlike Google, graph search works inside Facebook only. That means, your search results are based on what other people have shared on Facebook.
Facebook already had a search tool, so what is new about graph search? Graph search lets you search for things that the previous tool was unable to provide. It adds value to the search results you used to get. For example, if you have recently moved to Sydney from Perth and don’t know which restaurant is good for a family dinner, you can simply search for "restaurants in Sydney" and it will provide you the names of restaurants.
Now, if you want more reliable results, you can look for "restaurants in Sydney visited by my friends". You will immediately see a list of restaurants in Sydney that are visited by your friends. This narrowing down of search results makes graph search such a unique feature. At present, graph search is available for desktop users only, but soon mobile users too will be able to reap the benefits of this facility.
Graph search supports keyword searches and when you start searching with keywords, you will see search suggestions matching your keywords. While graph search brings people closer to each other by providing more intimate details like "people who like cycling and live in New York" or "spouses of my friends", you should not be alarmed about your privacy on Facebook.
Your posts can be viewed by the audience you have selected. However, if you have made certain posts "public", then anyone can read them using graph search. The same rule applies for photos you have uploaded or been tagged into. Kindly note that anyone can search for your name and find you, unless you have blocked the person. Though Facebook gives you the freedom to decide what other people can see on your timeline and who can view the things you have shared.
So, now let’s come to the main question, how can you use graph search?
Graph search is available for people using Facebook in US English only. If graph search is activated for your profile, you will see the search bar at the top of the page after signing in. You can start typing your query inside the search box. For example, if you search for "gyms in Melbourne" you will see search suggestions like "gyms in Melbourne beach" and "gyms in South Melbourne".
You can either complete your query and click "enter" button or select any one of the suggestions provided by the search tool. At the right hand side of the search results page, you will find options to refine the results and find exactly what you are looking for.
Graph search is not just for fun though. It can work as your partner to perform some really important tasks. For example, if you are a HR professional in an IT firm and looking for "software engineers in Los Angeles" area, graph search can help you find the best candidates within seconds. Now, suppose you want to hire only female engineers. In that case, you can refine the search results from the right side panel by selecting the gender "female".
Very recently, Facebook decided to make graph search even more powerful so that it could offer minute details about more than one billion users. You can now search for posts and status updates using graph search. You can search for things like photo captions, check-ins, comments and updates shared with you or made public by the user. For example, if you want to see "posts I commented on", "posts by my friends from last month" or "posts written at the Empire State Building", you can do it now.
The feature is not available to all Facebook users though. The Social Media giant has released it for a few users and it will roll out gradually across the globe for people using Facebook in English (US).
The privacy rules remain the same though, so you don’t have to worry about anything. You can only see the posts shared with you by your friends or made "public" by the user.
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