Facebook unveiled its social search tool in January, but only made it available to a small fraction of its 1.1 billion users, as its engineers continued to tweak and test it. Over the next few weeks, starting on Monday, the company is rolling out the social search tool, called “Graph Search,” to everyone whose language is set to U.S. English.
“This is just the beginning,” social network said in a blog post. “We’re currently working on making it easier for people to search and discover topics, including posts and comments.”
Graph search is designed to take straightforward questions and find answers by tapping into users’ circles of friends as well as any public posts at within the social network.
Typing “friends in San Francisco” in a graph search box atop a Facebook page will bring up members in the user’s circle who have made it known that they live in the City by the Bay.
But the feature was intended to be more sophisticated. The query, for example, can be enhanced to seek “Indian restaurants liked by friends in San Francisco who are from India.”
Such a prompt generates a results page showing Facebook friends who have indicated they are from India along with restaurants that they “liked” and the respective eateries’ pages at the social network.
Users can also perform searches based on categories, such as which films or music are liked by people of similar age groups or political leanings.
With its new search tool, Facebook is clearly trying to divert traffic and ad spending from its rival. Whether this will work will become more clear as more people begin using it.