Print 8 comment(s) - last by Moishe.. on Jul 12 at 12:30 PM

It helps you find an old photo or check-in that was posted long ago, but lost in a sea of information on either your profile or someone else's

If you've ever spent valuable time digging through old Facebook posts and photos in hopes of finding a specific event or piece of information, you'll be happy to know that the social network is introducing a whole new way to search for old data. 

The new search tool, called Graph Search, helps you find an old photo or check-in that was posted long ago, but lost in a sea of information on either your profile or someone else's. 

The new feature started rolling out in the U.S. today as well as others who use the English speaking site. Other languages will get the feature later. A beta version of Graph Search was originally introduced in January of this year. 

While Graph Search is making its way to your Facebook profile, it's not quite perfect yet. Facebook admitted that the new tool needs some work before it can dig up the buried information you're searching for.

For example, Graph Search has trouble understanding language that users search for. If a user searches "people who like to surf," it'll return people who have either "liked" surfing or mentioned surfing in some way on their Facebooks. However, the search tool doesn't understand "people who like surfing." 

Aside from language issues, the tool also may not return all accurate results. When Lars Rasmussen, the engineering director of the project, searched "friends who like ballet," only two results came up. Yet he knows that other friends have "liked" pages for ballet companies. 

Furthermore, the tool cannot search status updates, cannot work on the mobile version of Facebook and doesn't include information from Facebook-owned apps like Yelp or Instagram. 

However, Facebook will allow Graph Search to sift through status updates later this year. 

This new feature could encourage users to like more pages and offer more recommendations (such as restaurant recommendations) in the future, since it allows for the sharing of more information between friends and strangers. It's also easier than ever to find this data. 

This is great news for advertising companies, which can use this shared information for better targeted ads. 

But Facebook has a long way to go, since new information is added to the social network every day and the search tool must be smart enough to understand and find this growing amount of data. 

Source: The New York Times

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Limited Consumer version of the NSA tool
By Moishe on 7/9/2013 8:40:04 AM , Rating: 3
The searching and data mining possibilities in Facebook are so useful to the NSA that they decided to roll out a limited consumer version! j/k

To me, it seems like a fairly useless thing for most consumers. How many people really have a need to dig up some of info?

RE: Limited Consumer version of the NSA tool
By karimtemple on 7/9/2013 8:58:42 AM , Rating: 2
How many people really have a need to dig up some of info?
This is a joke, right?

By Moishe on 7/12/2013 12:30:47 PM , Rating: 2
No. Not a joke. Do you store important information on Facebook that you might need to find later?

I don't. And OK, so I'm fairly savvy, but I don't know a single "non-savvy" user who has ever expressed the need to go data mining their own fb page.

The most common Facebook user doesn't care about last week much less last year. The timeline is a "now" thing.

Old news is old news.

RE: Limited Consumer version of the NSA tool
By hughlle on 7/9/2013 9:00:04 AM , Rating: 3
Seems like facebook grasping at straws to try and give users something new and exciting. Issue being that as you say, it's fairly useless for most users. The majority of information and posts on facebook from my experience on it, are irrelevant and forgotten after a few days, for a reason, it's worthless "banter", not important information pertaining to a business deal. I personally do not need to be given a tool to dredge up a post and re-learn what Ashleigh was doing on saturday night last april, because it is now worthless information.

RE: Limited Consumer version of the NSA tool
By karimtemple on 7/9/2013 9:27:46 AM , Rating: 3
Do people really think this way? I can think of a lot of examples as to why you're crazy to think searching Facebook is "useless":

1) I'm part of several philosophy/political/tech groups on Facebook that are both lively and insightful. Sometimes you want a reminder of that really interesting anecdote you heard in a political debate.

2) A few weeks ago, Billy-Bob posted this really funny picture. Here, let me show you. It'll take no time at all because I can search now.

3) How was Ashleigh feeling that day?

4) Is anyone talking about The Last of Us?

I could go on. It just seems strange to me to ever view searching as useless. Searching is probably the ultimate manifestation of computer technology. Search is why computers wake up in the morning. Search is the most noble virtue a system can uphold.

By spread on 7/9/2013 10:03:47 AM , Rating: 2
How was Ashleigh feeling that day?

She's "fine" and doesn't want to talk about it.

By BRB29 on 7/9/2013 9:44:35 AM , Rating: 2
Issue being that as you say, it's fairly useless for most users

It's very useful. When I make an event and I want to invite only certain people that would be interested in it then I can narrow it down to those people instead of spamming all 800+ people.

I get several invites to events a day. It's annoying but I understand people cannot help it because they're forced to invite everyone. The only way around it is to individually pick people but that takes too long.

If I need advice on surfing or where to go then i can search for people who does and ask them.

there's a lot of possibilities.

By rcpinheiro on 7/10/2013 3:54:30 PM , Rating: 2
I've been testing Graph Search for last couple of months and I'm not impressed. It seldom returns useful results when you try something more complicated than searching for a user or page name. Worse, it seems nondeterministic, the same search can return different results.

Facebook still has a lot of rough edges, search is one of them but, for instance, the photo handling is awful and it seems to get worse - anyone noticed the extra photo compression they're using since last week?

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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