More Changes to Facebook?

So it is about that time again. Just when we all started feeling comfortable with Facebook’s last round of updates it is once again time for the social media giant to begin unveiling a new set of changes to the site. Starting today Facebook will begin rolling out the advanced search feature it announced earlier this year to all users in the United States.

The new search element titled Graph Search, will permit Facebook users to conduct more advanced searches — like “Restaurants in New York City my friends like” or “photos of my friends before 1996” — and get detailed results. Much has already been written about graph search – I was able to locate lots of information about it, but considering today it the first official roll out day I felt compelled to talk about it as just one more piece of the emerging media puzzle.

Facebook states that Graph Search results are personalized for you, just like your News Feed is unique to you. For instance let’s say you wanted to search for photos of the Statue of Liberty, you will see photographs that friends took of the Statue of Liberty and shared with you, as well as public photos related to the Statue of Liberty. So if you search for “photos of my friends with the Statue of Liberty” and I search for the same thing, we would see different results. Make sense? Clear as mud.

In other words with this new search tool, search results will be different for each user based on what that user has shared. Privacy choices determine what your friends see when they search.

Here is a brief description that Facebook shared with users:

After more than six months of user analysis, feedback, and critiques, Facebook says it believes the product is ready for release. From what I have read it sounds as though it will be a few weeks before everyone who uses Facebook with the “US English” setting will have the new feature, but several hundreds of millions of people will get it this week.

I am not sure how I feel about this new tool yet. I always appreciate a way to make things easier but I can’t help but wonder if this is just one more way for Facebook to data mine user information.

What are your thoughts? Do you think you will benefit from this new search tool? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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One thought on “More Changes to Facebook?

  1. Love this topic. First, this reminds me of big data. As you previously discussed, there’s a major push to collect consumer data (and all other types of data) to help us make smarter decisions. There are so many patterns the connect when seemingly random data is collected and analyzed.

    The other thought I had was how similar Facebook’s new search tool is to Google. One of the primary reasons Google has so many free services is to be able to collect data about its users. For example, the company can tell what you are interested in through the keywords it picks up in your emails. Facebook already has tremendous amounts of data about its users – data that doesn’t even have to be mined – it was provided by the user! That makes Facebook extremely powerful… once it better leverages that data. This is one of their first steps toward making that happen.

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