On Monday Facebook announced an update to Graph Search that will enable users to search for conversation topics within status updates, comments and posts.
“Starting today, Graph Search will include posts and status updates. Now you will be able to search for status updates, photo captions, check-ins and comments to find things shared with you,” Facebook said in Newsroom blog post.
“Search for the topics you’re interested in and see what your friends are saying, like ‘Dancing with the Stars’ or ‘Posts about Dancing with the Stars by my friends.’”
The sevice was launched in January aimed to help members better navigate the vast amount of information on Facebook; however, it lacked detailed information from member postings.
After that Facebook has expanded Graph Search and it became available to all US users that browse in English. Since Graph Search is a semantic search engine based on sentences, not keywords, it’s tricky and slow to internationalize, reports the Tech Crunch.
Facebook emphasized that the new effort is not Web search, but can help find certain information archived within the network and in the content of friends. It uses Microsoft’s Bing search engine to scour content in Facebook.
According to a company spokesperson Facebook’s search update is not yet available to all Graph Search users. It will be tested starting on Monday with a small group of users and will roll out more expansively after that.
Users will only be able to search for content that has been shared with them, in addition to public posts. In other words, your conversations should not appear in a search run by someone outside of your network unless your comments and posts are public, says Mashable.
“As with other things in Graph Search, you can only see content that has been shared with you, including posts shared publicly by people you are not friends with,” the company said in an announcement.
Naturally, this is probably going to cause some concern among Facebook’s users, as happens with most changes. But as always, you’ll only be able to search through posts that have been shared with you—which includes public posts by non-friends.
So since this feature is still only available to a small group, now might be a good time to go back through the annals of Facebook yesteryear and make sure you’re not sharing anything you don’t want seen—before it’s too late.
The Forbes believes that with this addition, Graph Search results pages could even become a significant place to run ads–which might actually start to challenge Google’s cash cow in a small way. If you can find posts by friends who wrote about a product you’re interested in, that could be very attractive to advertisers looking to target highly qualified prospects–if Facebook eventually allows them to do that.
The update makes Facebook much more conducive to real-time conversations, an area where it has been making major strides to compete with the likes of Twitter. The two social networks have been competing for eyeballs during primetime television events like the Emmys, the NFL’s Monday Night Football, and Sunday’s Breaking Bad finale.