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

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner
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