Facebook's Graph Search Explained

What Facebook wants to achieve with its new search engine

The first thing to understand about the Facebook Graph Search is that it's not Google. It's not trying to be Google and Zuckerberg would have you believe it's a completely new thing and, obviously, better.

He does actually have a point, Facebook has no intention of going head to head with Google over web search.

Microsoft has been trying to do it for years and hasn't gotten too far, there's simply no point in Facebook even trying.

But Facebook is sitting on a huge stockpile of data that, if recovered properly, can be incredibly useful in any number of cases.

More importantly, Facebook is the only one sitting on this amount of data. And it's precisely this data that Google wanted to get when it created Google+, nothing more, nothing less.

Facebook knows more about you than you do in some cases and certainly more than your friends know.

It knows whom you talk to, how often and for how long. It knows what football team you like, what TV shows, what websites you visit. And it knows all that about your friends too.

The problem has been and continues to be, what to do with all that data, how to profit it from it – that part is easy, sell it to advertisers – and how to make your life better.

The Graph Search tackles the latter part. In essence, it will allow you to search for things that are relevant to you and only you. Subsequently, many of the answers it provides are unique to you.

Searching for something like "friends nearby that like Star Wars" is going to retrieve a list of people that is very likely unique to you.

The Graph Search launched today is just a glimpse at what Facebook wants to achieve. You'll be able to search for movies that your friends like or, even better, movies that your friends who like Star Wars also like.

For now, information about people, photos, places and interests is available to Graph Search.

Incidentally, that's exactly what Google set out to build with Search Plus Your World, a year ago. It's still working on it, but Google has a lot less info on you making the results less relevant.

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