Facebook currently has 1 billion users. The forum that started as a social platform for friends to connect has evolved into a lucrative tool for many businesses and brands, and has provided a much-needed space for companies to communicate and interact with customers.
On January 15, Facebook announced an upgrade featured called Graph Search that acts as a search tool in partnership with Microsoft’s Bing. Graph Search’s functionalities are in beta and somewhat limited but focus on four main areas: people, photos, places and interests. Graph Search enables its members to sift through Facebook’s data indexed by interests, locations and recommendations via a search bar located at the top of a Facebook profile.
Privacy & Best Practices
Searches can be very simple questions like “friends who like dogs” or “Italian restaurants in NYC liked by my friends”. These searches are defined by your friends and their friends’ interests and activity but are limited by users’ privacy settings, which prevents certain items from being shared. According to Facebook, Graph Search will only share content that was previously made public. For businesses with a storefront, searches help generate traffic, both digital and to the actual location, based on the number of existing recommendations and check-ins. Any searches that Facebook doesn’t understand or those that are irretrievable within the Graph Search’s parameters will be redirected to Microsoft’s Bing to browse via public websites.
Facebook users concerned about their privacy on the social media network may take some steps to further protect photos. Take five minutes to review your Facebook settings to ensure that all content being shared, including photos, is only visible to the connections you’ve intended to share them with. However, if you are open to embracing the possibilities of this communal online space, updating your settings won’t be necessary; you can simply untag yourself from a friends’ photo or change your settings so that all images of you have to be approved by you first. If you want to go even further, reporting a photo is an option, too.
Getting Facebook’s Graph Search
Facebook Graph Search is in beta and users must get on a waiting list to have access and see how this tool actually works. Facebook is analyzing its user experience before making Graph Search available to all Facebook users.
Something to think about: Do you think this is another sign of Facebook’s quest to become the one-stop destination on the Internet? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.