Does your Facebook search bar look a bit different today?
Don't be surprised if it does. Starting today, Facebook is rolling out Graph Search, the advanced search feature that the social network launched in beta earlier this year. Graph Search is intended to help users more easily find people, photos, videos and places on Facebook.
Everyone using U.S. English on Facebook should get an automatic search box update over the next few weeks, according to the company.
As Graph Search rolls out, users will get a notice on their home page with a reminder about controlling what they share and with whom.
"This is just the beginning," the company wrote in a blog post. "We're currently working on making it easier for people to search and discover topics, including posts and comments. We're also working on getting mobile Graph Search ready."
The blog also said that since Graph Search initially came out in beta, tens of millions of people have tried it, helping Facebook make adjustments and improvements to it.
For instance, Facebook has made Graph Search faster at suggesting potential searches and displaying results. Facebook programmers also have tweaked the search service so it understands more ways of asking questions and is better at showing the most relevant results first.
Facebook's new search tool basically unleashes the collective knowledge and opinions of its more than 1 billion global users.
Graph Search, which appears as a bigger search bar at the top of each page, is designed to offer up an answer after combing through Facebook's own huge store of user information.
Want to find a great day spa in Chicago, for example? Graph Search will find out what spas your friends, and even their friends, have tried and liked.
If two people ask the same question, they're likely to get different results because their individual set of friends and contacts will be different so their likes and dislikes will also differ.
Facebook has a massive collection of information about what restaurants, bicycles, cars and airlines its users have tried. It also has a similar amount of data on who has attended a certain college and now works at a certain company in a particular city.
Looking for a locally owned caf in Boston? Looking for an old classmate in Maine? What's the best hybrid car or vacation spot on the East Coast?
Facebook is hoping you'll search for the answer on its site.
This article, Facebook pushes out Graph Search; mobile version on the way, was originally published at Computerworld.com.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is [email protected].
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