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Facebook's Graph Search
January 15, 2013 12:45 PM   Subscribe

Facebook today announced their Graph Search during a live event at their headquarters. Some say it is Facebook's attempt at taking down Google and taking over web search (they did partner with Bing), but more astute observers see LinkedIn, Yelp, and OKCupid in their crosshairs too based on the live event demos.

Given Facebook is up to 240 Billion photos now, I'm reminded of a visualization from a year or so ago showing just how immense Facebook's photo archive was compared to every other big photo library. Facebook could be gunning for Flickr too with this feature, since it's currently nearly impossible to find an old photo on Facebook, and fairly easy on Flickr.

Of course it goes without saying that even Facebook's demos of "search for all single guys near San Francisco that know my friends that are also Indian" caused much of Twitter to think it was yet another creepy move by the social network giant.
posted by mathowie (81 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Personally, I don't see myself using this instead of Google anytime soon, as I (and my friends) just don't "like" every dentist, sushi restaurant, and movie on earth to actually make the searches useful. I do suspect once the search is out there, people might be more inclined to like more things knowing it'll help their friends find those things eventually. Up until now, the only thing I knew would happen if I liked something was it might show up in my activity and annoy my friends with an ad for it someday since I liked it.
posted by mathowie at 12:47 PM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is it broken over HTTPS?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:51 PM on January 15, 2013


You mean twitter search? Works for me over https.
posted by mathowie at 12:52 PM on January 15, 2013


Facebook could be gunning for Flickr too with this feature, since it's currently nearly impossible to find an old photo on Facebook, and fairly easy on Flickr.
I lol'd.

When it comes to managing a photo library, Flickr was ten years ahead of facebook seven years ago.

Then yahoo bought them and they've been stuck in neutral ever since. :(
posted by mullingitover at 12:56 PM on January 15, 2013 [13 favorites]


No, graph search.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:57 PM on January 15, 2013


Well, that's a relief. I was led to believe that Facebook was releasing it's pricing grid ($9.99 PER MONTH FOR GOLD MEMBER SERVICES, $6.99 PER MONTH FOR SILVER MEMBER SERVICES, $3.99 PER MONTH FOR BRONZE MEMBER SERVICES) but that if I copied and pasted this message before midnight tonight my icon would turn blue and Facebook would be free for me.
posted by Curious Artificer at 1:00 PM on January 15, 2013 [23 favorites]


I think I'm glad I deleted almost all my photos on FB (and Picasa) last week. All I have left there for photos now is a handful of photo uploads from my phone.

Facebook: We make you instantly findable by every person who has ever met you, and lots of people that haven't met you...yet.
posted by COD at 1:01 PM on January 15, 2013


Then yahoo bought them and they've been stuck in neutral ever since.

Until a month or two ago, when they shifted into high gear and overtook Instagram.
posted by acb at 1:01 PM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Facebook could be gunning for Flickr too with this feature, since it's currently nearly impossible to find an old photo on Facebook, and fairly easy on Flickr.

Wait! How is it fairly easy to find an old photo on Flickr? I've been a loyal Flickr pro user for years and I would love to know how to do this. Please help!
posted by The World Famous at 1:03 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


: "Then yahoo bought them and they've been stuck in neutral ever since.

Until a month or two ago, when they shifted into high gear and overtook Instagram.
"

Is it because flickr shifted into high gear, or because instagram shifted into reverse?
posted by mullingitover at 1:03 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm with Matt. I always roll my eyes when I see that one of my friends "liked" Target or Wal-Mart or whatever. I have found zero use for Google's personal search results.

Who knows, I guess I'll wait until it's live before I pass judgement.

What I want is a search that will show which friends of mine have mutual friends in common with each other. I can already see which friends I have mutual friends with, but I'm curious about connections between my friends, especially friends that aren't from the same social circles. I've found a couple by accident, but I'd like some way to scan all my friend's friend's lists and compare them all with each other.
posted by bondcliff at 1:03 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have no idea why I would use this.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:03 PM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can't wait to see how well this works, based on the ads that Facebook seems to think are targeted at me. I'm apparently a left-leaning right winger who wants a degree in Construction Management, or an arts grant or a psychology degree, as well as a burgundy tufted bed, but who also wants to meet other black people even after being targeted for Mitt Romney ads. Oh, and today I'm apparently way way way off into triathlon gear (which actual me is not).
posted by raysmj at 1:06 PM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is it because flickr shifted into high gear, or because instagram shifted into reverse?

A bit of both. Instagram's TOS cockup helped them, but even before it happened, they were working on their new iOS app (which matched the instant-photography-with-optional-filters paradigm of Hipstagram and such, without sacrificing Flickr's functionality) and redesigning their website. They were starting to pick up momentum, thanks to Yahoo's new management making them a priority area and having enough of a clue not to botch things.
posted by acb at 1:08 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


"What dentist should I go to?"
"What music should I listen to?"
...
"Show me pictures of my ex being miserable"
"Show me all of the pictures of people more popular than me in high school who make less than me"
posted by cacofonie at 1:08 PM on January 15, 2013 [34 favorites]


We make you instantly findable by every person who has ever met you, and lots of people that haven't met you...yet.

A stranger is just a stalker you haven't met yet! :-)
posted by octobersurprise at 1:08 PM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I hope Facebook chokes on a dick.
Remember when a person with a yahoo address could communicate with a person with a hotmail address? For some reason or another, everybody in the world decided that the best thing to do was to make everybody everywhere use the same web service if you want to communicate with them. This is why I have no friends.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 1:08 PM on January 15, 2013 [20 favorites]


ALL MY HARRIET THE SPY DREAMS ARE COMING TRUE
posted by roger ackroyd at 1:09 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


OK, but does the fact that I have very strict privacy restrictions opt me out of this?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:09 PM on January 15, 2013


The World Famous: Wait! How is it fairly easy to find an old photo on Flickr? I've been a loyal Flickr pro user for years and I would love to know how to do this. Please help!

Flickr offers the ability to look through images by date taken (if the camera in question was digital and had the date set correctly) as well as by date uploaded (year, month, or day) and of course searching by tags is offered. It's not magic, it won't find something if you don't have any of those pieces of information, but my most recent look at Facebook photos - which was admittedly months ago - didn't show me any of those options. Even if a person were tagged I couldn't tell how to just show "photos of X uploaded by user Y" or anything along those lines.

I've been a hardcore Flickr user since 2005 and I somehow had the good sense to tag photos religiously, so I am never at a loss when it comes to finding old stuff. Half the time when I was on Facebook I couldn't even find out how to get to my own settings.
posted by komara at 1:10 PM on January 15, 2013


Finally, a tool to take my creepy stalking to the next level.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:10 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


i'll be spending the evening typing in stuff like "facebook choking on a dick".
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:10 PM on January 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Steven Levy has a nice in-depth piece that just went up at Wired about this.
posted by mathowie at 1:11 PM on January 15, 2013


For some reason or another, everybody in the world decided that the best thing to do was to make everybody everywhere use the same web service if you want to communicate with them.

History has a way of repeating itself, doesn't it? I hope things go as well for facebook as they did for AOL.
posted by ChipT at 1:13 PM on January 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


For some reason or another, everybody in the world decided that the best thing to do was to make everybody everywhere use the same web service if you want to communicate with them

I remember when some of my friends were on AIM and other friends were on ICQ, and I tried to download a shady copy of Trillian but it kept crashing. Internet ghettoization was not invented by Facebook.

(I didn't even know Trillian worked with Facebook and Twitter but it apparantly does)
posted by muddgirl at 1:14 PM on January 15, 2013


I've been a hardcore Flickr user since 2005 and I somehow had the good sense to tag photos religiously

Well there's my problem right there.
posted by The World Famous at 1:18 PM on January 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


mathowie: Personally, I don't see myself using this instead of Google anytime soon...

I don't think that's the aim here: AFAIK it doesn't include general web results. Facebook have a lot of data, and making that more discoverable via good search makes Facebook more useful. In addition, Facebook are no doubt looking to have people spend more time on their site, and reduce the need to leave Facebook for Google. I don't think there's any serious intention that graph search will make general search redundant.
posted by nml at 1:20 PM on January 15, 2013


I remember when some of my friends were on AIM and other friends were on ICQ, and I tried to download a shady copy of Trillian but it kept crashing. Internet ghettoization was not invented by Facebook.

I've been saying this same thing for years! And I can prove it too now that all my my facebook posts are public and searchable!
posted by ChipT at 1:21 PM on January 15, 2013


But again, the "search" is irrelevant if enough of us opt out of it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:21 PM on January 15, 2013


ALL MY HARRIET THE SPY DREAMS ARE COMING TRUE

I know you were (kinda) joking here. But I've pretty much decided that every one of my unwritten "amateur sleuth ends up solving crime on the side" writing ideas have to be set in 2004 or earlier because, if not, the plot could be resolved in about 10 seconds.

As for Graph Search, I can't figure out why it doesn't creep me out like it should. Probably because I don't update Facebook with much.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:21 PM on January 15, 2013


The Wired article (after talking about how Graph search leverages one's "relationship with brands", god why are people such suckers on the internet, you do not have relationships with brands) talks about how this can be used in "job searches", which I find depressing as I have no intention of using Facebook and this leads me to wonder how it will impact my work possibilities. (And also makes me wonder by what mechanism we are essentially making participation in an online spying and marketing machine a near requirement for work.)

Also makes me wonder who is left out - in a sense, the barriers to Facebook participation are low, but there's a pretty significant "digital divide", only no one calls it that anymore, right?

And then I looked at the "Graph Search team" photo in the Wired article and noticed that they put almost all the girls - all four or so - right in front, with the blond one front and center. Also that there seemed to be no African American developers.
posted by Frowner at 1:21 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


ChipT: "I hope things go as well for facebook as they did for AOL."

Hey, if facebook spawns things like Winamp and Gnutella on its slide to irrelevance, I'll be pleased.
posted by mullingitover at 1:21 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


The name "Graph Search" gives me flashbacks of my graduate-level discrete math class.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 1:23 PM on January 15, 2013


My instinct is to just roll my eyes and say 'But I still hate using facebook so why will I use this feature?"

I don't think it's something I will use often, but I might see myself turning to Graph Search if I want to find out if any of my friends have something I would like to use that would be weird to ask about outright. For instance 'friends with a pickup truck' would be a useful search for when I need to move. That's about the best I could come up with for personal use.

For personal use. If I'm a small business I use the ever-loving SHIT out of this thing (assuming that fb allows businesses to run Graph Search on customers who have liked their page - they were vague on business use). I mean it's data-mining on the cheap, right? You can see where your customers are into, discover new competition, etc etc.

Unless, of course, everybody starts keeping everything private because they don't want to be discovered in which case it will be like playing hide-and-go-seek. I don't think this will happen, though. I suspect most fb users will be a bit taken with the idea that they can be 'discovered' through a Graph Search and make as much data about themselves available as possible.
posted by Tevin at 1:29 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


(after reading the Wired article)

Do I have so many friends I would need a search query to find out which of them wanted to come to my dog's birthday party ala Zuckerberg? No.

Am I going to want to contact or be contacted by random friend of a friend strangers about...anything? Probably not. Certainly not enough to make myself searchable. The whole point of FB for most people is finding people they already know and reconnecting or continuing a connection.

They are definitely going for LinkedIn, at least. But I've always found the LinkedIn model dodgy..I mostly use it to keep in contact w/ former coworkers who might be references someday, and also so that potential employers can see that I exist. Which I also have a webpage for, but whatever. The whole what jobs do friends-of-friends have thing is kind of interesting but has never led to much in the way of job offers for me.

Pinterest...I guess? But what are the chances of FB ever having as cute and use-able an interface as Pinterest?

Flickr? Maybe? Most people on Flickr care about things like image resolution and being able to sort and store their images precisely. FB has never cared about any of those things.

They are consistently kludgy and simple functions remain obscure and irritating (took me several tries today to change my profile picture because it's not where it was last time or where I thought it should be...under Profile.)
posted by emjaybee at 1:32 PM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've been keeping my head down and waiting for this whole Facebook thing to blow over, but it doesn't seem to be happening.
posted by cell divide at 1:37 PM on January 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


When I read "That summer, Rasmussen, armed with a crude demo, met with Zuckerberg in a glass-walled area of Facebook’s then-headquarters called the Aquarium ..." I thought of the old Russian rock star Boris Grebenshikov, who said "I called my band Aquarium, because here in the Soviet Union we are in a giant fishbowl."
posted by octobersurprise at 1:38 PM on January 15, 2013


: "They are consistently kludgy and simple functions remain obscure and irritating "

QFT. For example, if you want to keep your 'likes' private, you'd go to your privacy settings page to change this, right?

Fuck no! You're gonna need this.
posted by mullingitover at 1:39 PM on January 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


For example, he thinks he can make it easier to find invitees for a canine birthday party. “We don’t have the ‘who has dogs’ field yet,” Zuckerberg says.


WHY CAN'T YOU JUST MAKE IT EASIER TO FUCKING SEARCH NORMAL WORDS ON SOMEONE'S PAGE

or, you know, you could just look at your friends and go, oh! They have 47238984490 pictures of a dog and stuff on a dog, maybe they have a dog.
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:39 PM on January 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I feel very meh about facebook, and its valuation and all of the hoop-la about how it's a key feature of modern life. I guess most of the people I know aren't all that plugged in to it, and use it for the occasional wedding picture or pithy political status update.

BUT then I remember that there is this whole generation of kids who grew up with facebook, and that are intimately and irreversibly "plugged into" it, in which case yeah, this is a game changer.
posted by cacofonie at 1:40 PM on January 15, 2013


YES, THIS IS DOG.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:41 PM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


And then I looked at the "Graph Search team" photo in the Wired article and noticed that they put almost all the girls - all four or so - right in front, with the blond one front and center. Also that there seemed to be no African American developers.


Not that I especially want to defend Facebook, but it looks like there are at least seven other women in that photo, many of color. I'm actually sort of pleasantly surprised at how not-totally white and not-totally male the photo is?
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:42 PM on January 15, 2013


I can't wait to see how well this works, based on the ads that Facebook seems to think are targeted at me.

Pretty much. The targeted ads are worse than random -- often they're the exact opposite of what should be intended. Even their suggestions of who they think I'm related to couldn't be more off -- not even my friends with the same last name seem to be a big enough hint.

As long as you don't give them the extra information they're asking for -- being location, reviews, relationships, or tagging -- how is this search engine even going to begin searching? The savvy users don't give them those extras, and the not-so-savvy ones likely aren't deep enough in their profiles or postings to make their contributions at all valuable.

I can't see this working out, frankly. Not in any worthwhile sense.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:43 PM on January 15, 2013


"BUT then I remember that there is this whole generation of kids who grew up with facebook, and that are intimately and irreversibly "plugged into" it, in which case yeah, this is a game changer."

This is the assumption but I would like some hard data on how engaged kids who 'grew up' on Facebook really are with it. I'm friends with some high school/college age students (my friends' kids) and they aren't nearly as active as friends my own age (early thirties).

That's very anecdotal, I know, but I don't think that fb is nearly as entrenched as they (we) think they might be.
posted by Tevin at 1:44 PM on January 15, 2013


I hope things go as well for facebook as they did for AOL.

Me, I'd rather see 'em do as well as Prodigy.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:47 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


And then I looked at the "Graph Search team" photo in the Wired article

I looked at that photo and thought "Why'd they hire all those people just entering grad school?"
posted by octobersurprise at 1:49 PM on January 15, 2013


Before Facebook, I was unaware of my latent preference for gay Native American Jewish single moms. How could this new thing not be useful?
posted by echocollate at 1:58 PM on January 15, 2013


"search for all single guys near San Francisco that know my friends that are also Indian"

oh hi
posted by raihan_ at 2:03 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh good, now I can search for the "brand relationships" of the irritating Tea Party cousins that I'm obligated to follow or my Dad will make sad faces at me. Finally!

(Also, my understanding is that Facebook is no longer hip with the kids, although Instagram was a pretty smart purchase on that front.)
posted by jess at 2:09 PM on January 15, 2013


We are not the target of this search capability, cool though that could be. Advertisers are. "Show my travel ad to friends of people who live in San Francisco and who are frequently tagged in photographs" is worth $$$$, unlike most of FB's crappy inventory.

(And if Instagram hadn't botched their ToS update, would have been worth even more with the rider "and show a face crop of their most-liked profile shot with the caption 'visit [their name] in San Francisco with our cheap flights!'")
posted by fightorflight at 2:28 PM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think this is probably the most illuminating photo from the keynote.
posted by Mil at 2:32 PM on January 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Show my travel ad to friends of people who live in San Francisco and who are frequently tagged in photographs" is worth $$$$, unlike most of FB's crappy inventory

That's exactly what advertisers have access to now. If anything, this is opening it up to everyone now.
posted by dobi at 2:41 PM on January 15, 2013


A birthday party for a dog? What? Where am I? What just happened?
posted by enn at 2:43 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


As long as you don't give them the extra information they're asking for -- being location, reviews, relationships, or tagging -- how is this search engine even going to begin searching?

There will be social pressure to maintain your profile data. Like, "OMG Carl hasn't even updated the metadata in his Facebook profile yet, so structured queries won't work very well. He is *such* a lame-o."
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:43 PM on January 15, 2013


And another thing!

I like Yelp when I'm looking for a new restaurant because I start with a neighborhood or kind of food and just follow the rabbit trail until I find something fun. With Graph Search I have to come into it with my query and probably know pretty well what information I want back or where I want to end up. There's no sense of discovery. That feels very ... I don't know, 1999 to me.
posted by Tevin at 3:13 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


There will be social pressure to maintain your profile data. Like, "OMG Carl hasn't even updated the metadata in his Facebook profile yet, so structured queries won't work very well. He is *such* a lame-o."

Or:
"We notice your friend, CARL, hasn't told us $METADATA! Help us improve Facebook! Tell us Carl's $METADATA and earn free FARMVILLE DOLLARS!".
posted by Mezentian at 3:29 PM on January 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


One of the slides at the top of the first page linked is showing restaurants in London with prices is given in US dollars, which feels like an interesting indicator of the quality of things to come.
posted by ominous_paws at 3:31 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I only use facebook to post cats and make snide comments about other people posts. I'm anti-content!
posted by SpannerX at 3:33 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Remember when a person with a yahoo address could communicate with a person with a hotmail address? For some reason or another, everybody in the world decided that the best thing to do was to make everybody everywhere use the same web service if you want to communicate with them. This is why I have no friends.

Indeed. I was just thinking the other day about how we used to make fun of AOL "key words", or whatever they were called. Like, hahah, why use a stupid web portal when there's URLs and Google and such. Then we had a few glorious (?) years where everyone plastered .com on everything, and now we're back to "search for us on Facebook!" on product packaging. Le plus ca change, I suppose.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 3:36 PM on January 15, 2013


: ""We notice your friend, CARL, hasn't told us $METADATA! Help us improve Facebook! Tell us Carl's $METADATA and earn free FARMVILLE DOLLARS!"."

Oh god please let this happen. I promise only to use it for good.

*rubs palms together wickedly*
posted by mullingitover at 3:37 PM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't understand how I would use this. Rather than search Facebook for what friends like, wouldn't I just ask them and get personalized results?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:43 PM on January 15, 2013


A birthday party for a dog? What? Where am I? What just happened?

Zuckerberg only found five people who wanted to come to his party! And he had to troll Facebook to find them!
posted by octobersurprise at 4:22 PM on January 15, 2013


I had to laugh when I saw the graph search logo.

"Show me men in my hometown interested in a circle-jerk."
posted by dhartung at 4:25 PM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


He's reinvented Grindr!
posted by octobersurprise at 4:43 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe I can use this to finally find out which of my friends are abiding dudes.
posted by gubenuj at 4:58 PM on January 15, 2013


Every time Facebook changes something, it makes me more and more inclined to disable my account. The fact that I feel like I can't is perhaps a testament to how good the original idea of FB was. The further they get from that, the more likely they are to toe the line a bit too far.
posted by DoubleLune at 5:01 PM on January 15, 2013


What I want is a search that will show which friends of mine have mutual friends in common with each other.

myfnetwork?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:28 PM on January 15, 2013


I deleted my FB account a year ago, when it began to feel compulsory, and stopped being fun for me. Does this mean I'm destined to be a second-class member of humanity?
posted by hwestiii at 5:40 PM on January 15, 2013


Search for people who like ____________ who live in _____?

As a person who helped create LiveJournal, all I can say is that I loved having this functionality because I was a superuser who made useful searches all the time... but hate Facebook giving this ability away to everyone and anyone, because Facebook is too ubiquitous for that, and was originally designed where people could reasonably assume they'd have a greater degree of privacy.

The ubiquity of Facebook makes this an especially dangerous feature that *will* be abused.

Quick show of hands: Who favors the ability of anyone in the Chinese government being able to do a quick search for those in their nation who like Falun Gong, internet activism, or democracy, or particular authors?

Who favors letting rightwing extremists in the deep South search for local supporters of the ACLU, or Planned Parenthood, or gun control?
posted by markkraft at 6:00 PM on January 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Finally, terrorists and kidnappers overseas have a tool that will help them locate an appropriate local Westerner to target! No more targeting humanitarian aid workers... now they'll have plenty of well-heeled Christian conservatives to choose from!

Oh, and your mom might get a tennis partner, too.
posted by markkraft at 6:18 PM on January 15, 2013


You know I really don't like cycling, it is just a way to get from point A to point B cheaply.

I just want to use Facebook to connect with my friends, not really to talk with them. It feels more real that way.
posted by JJ86 at 6:48 PM on January 15, 2013


I met my partner on facebook about six years ago. In my "interests" section, I had entered all my favorite web comics - dinosaur comics, questionable content, Scary Go Round... man I can't even remember what comics I liked back then. Anyway, back then, when you clicked an interest, it would show you other people in your network that also had that interest. Back when networks were a thing.

So I kept clicking on the thing and her name kept coming up. I wasn't even a student at the school at the time - I had taken a class there the year previously, when I finally signed up for facebook (most of my xanga readers were my dad, so I wanted something new). So I sent her a message saying "Whenever I search for webcomics I like, your name keeps popping up. So, good work enjoying hilarity!" and then we went to coffee and made out and started dating and moved in and got married.

So, that's the story of how facebook made my life perfect :)

And then a few months later they canceled networks and killed the ability to make new friends and keep telling me that I should be friends with those idiots I was in highschool with who I pretty much can't stand.
posted by rebent at 7:24 PM on January 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


> This is the assumption but I would like some hard data on how engaged kids who 'grew up' on Facebook really are with it. I'm friends with some high school/college age students (my friends' kids) and they aren't nearly as active as friends my own age (early thirties).

I would too - the with it kids know you need to define groups of friends on FB so that only your inner circle see the majority of your updates... or so I'm lead to believe, anyway.
posted by fragmede at 7:40 PM on January 15, 2013


“One of my favorite queries is recruiting,” Zuckerberg said. “Let’s say we’re trying to find engineers at Google who are friends of engineers at Facebook.” He typed in the query and found, not surprisingly, that there were lots of people who met those criteria.

Hahahaha. I have to say I love this little "poke" at Google, given the talent and market feud they're having (pun intended). Well played Zuckerberg.

I like Yelp when I'm looking for a new restaurant because I start with a neighborhood or kind of food and just follow the rabbit trail until I find something fun. With Graph Search I have to come into it with my query and probably know pretty well what information I want back or where I want to end up.

I've been using Foursquare's explore feature more and more for finding new restaurants locally or in a new area, and I find the results are closer to my personal taste. Yelp doesn't work as well for me. I think this is because of a couple key reasons:

1. Foursquare users are closer to my general "demographic" than Yelp.
2. Foursquare incorporates places friends have been when generating explore recommendations.
3. Foursquare uses current trending check-in information in ranking results. I don't necessarily choose the "hippest" place, but the trending information is information that has value.

Facebook has all of this data and more. The only real HUGE problem is the one everyone mentions when they talk about Facebook. I don't give a fuck what Joe who I went to high school and have nothing in common with likes. Two possible solutions:

1. Give me complex operators like "SELECT x WHERE user(joe) DISLIKES restaurant(x)" or
2. Use friend lists or something like Google+ Circles to setup "search circles". Actions by users in those circles get weighted more heavily in search results.


I also like this for another very important reason, unrelated to the actual feature itself.

That reason is Information Science and Information Security education. The general public has no idea the power of data mining and machine learning and the amount of information they reveal to the world with every action. Features like this will help people understand the power and potentials that information makes available. I say this even as an engineer who makes use of this vast pool of data to build products. I realize the more people know about these topics the less they will willingly reveal. I'm ok with this.
posted by formless at 8:06 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


: ""We notice your friend, CARL, hasn't told us $METADATA! Help us improve Facebook! Tell us Carl's $METADATA and earn free FARMVILLE DOLLARS!"."

Oh god please let this happen. I promise only to use it for good.


So, under your benevolent regime Facebook relations will be just like Metafilter spouses?

Where do I sign up?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:13 PM on January 15, 2013


New AOL search! Powered by Naïvety.
posted by davemee at 1:32 AM on January 16, 2013


I can't wait to see how well this works, based on the ads that Facebook seems to think are targeted at me.

Isn't it also possible that some marketers with big pockets (like Walmart) are just targeting everyone?
posted by smackfu at 6:44 AM on January 16, 2013


I suppose it could be companies of the late-night infomercial ilk. But I presume in many cases that the ads are being sent to me based on who my friends are and a loose association with pages I have liked over time (being in a half-marathon and liking cycling shop ads would account for the triathlon ads, say, just not three frickin' ones at one time). But I have an insanely diverse array of people I know, who are FB "friends" who are mostly just contacts. Loose ties can help you find jobs and get assistance and yes, find products you're looking for, or so plenty of research shows. Those friends do not all influence me in the same way possible, however. That doesn't happen with anyone. Meanwhile, I don't think you can judge who is most influential in my everyday life and decision-making or choices by looking at an online network, although you could get a vague idea if you look hard enough. FB advertisers doth assume too much from looking at who my friends are, though. It's crazy obvious sometimes.
posted by raysmj at 11:33 AM on January 16, 2013


Searching for: "People who only use their Facebook feed to repost ecards and/or lolcats, lies that can be proven wrong by a 30 second trip to Snopes.com, and saccharine religious platitudes"

Results: Every single Facebook account in existence
posted by caution live frogs at 11:56 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Creepy Details of Facebook's New Graph Search.
posted by Mezentian at 5:23 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Facebook (and 500px and Flickr) as a Window Into Social Media - III. The Business Model as Belief and Reality
Why is Facebook such a repeatedly bad actor in its relationship to its users, constantly testing and probing for ways to quietly or secretly breach the privacy constraints that most of its users expect and demand, strategems to invade their carefully maintained social networks? Because it has to. That’s Facebook’s version of the Red Queen’s race, its bargain with investment capital. Facebook will keep coming back and back again with various schemes and interface trickery because if it stops, it will be the LiveJournal or BBS of 2020, a trivia answer and nostalgic memory.

That is not the inevitable fate of all social media. It is a distinctive consequence of the intersection of massive slops of surplus investment capital looking desperately for somewhere to come to rest; the character of Facebook’s niche in the ecology of social media; and the path-dependent evolution of Facebook’s interface.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:07 AM on January 24, 2013


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