MENLO PARK, Calif. — Facebook on Jan. 15 introduced a real-time search mechanism it calls Graph Search, which enables users to quickly find content they have touched at some point in their Facebook lifetimes.
This is not your typical Google, Bing or Yahoo search, which gathers up thousands or millions of links and simply presents them to the querier as possible answers.
Queries written in the blue bar across the top of the Graph Search page can fetch photos, videos, links, documents—anything the user has touched or shared, or had shared with—on Facebook from the first day the user joined the social network.
Mix and Match Query Terms
Users can mix and match query terms (photos of friends who like Indian food, for example), and Graph Search will bring it right up on the screen—even while the query is still being typed.
Or, for another example, a user could use Graph Search for a query about "friends who voted for Mitt Romney and the music they like," and a list of Facebook friends will pop right up.
IT people already know that an awful lot of NAND flash and DRAM is being used in those Facebook data centers to be able to bring up such disparate facts and connect all those dots so quickly.
"Graph Search is something we've been working on for a long while," Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg told a standing-room-only press conference here at the social network's headquarters on the San Francisco Bay.
Pillar 3 of Facebook's Business
"We look at this as the third main pillar of our business up to this point: We have Newsfeed, for connecting with the people around you; we have Timeline, which tells us the history of the people around you. Now we have Graph Search, which will tie everything together and answer questions directly in real time."
Zuckerberg said that Graph Search is a beta product and is "one of the coolest things we've developed in a while. All the queries we've used work, but it's still in the early stage."
The 28-year-old social network executive said that his company's partnership with Microsoft Bing will help fill out queries that Graph Search can't do.
"We don't expect people to come to Facebook just to do Web searches, but for our users, this will be a great feature. And Bing brings a lot to the table," Zuckerberg said.
Zuckerberg said the company decided to focus on Graph Search first over mobile development because Facebook is rewriting all its mobile app code and that Graph Search was closer to being ready for prime time.
"Graph Search is the kind of problem we love to work on, because it's both a technical problem and a social problem," Zuckerberg said.
More to come here on eWEEK.