Top global social media site Facebook has upgraded its search functionality for users by enabling them to filter and combine data already submitted to the site by their own circle of friends.
Called Graph Search, the new facility provides the opportunity to seek answers to precise questions by drawing on information from friends such as their posts, likes, locations and timelines.
An example of the new search function in action would be to ask about a particular nightclub in London – and being presented in turn with details of all the relevant references and photographs which have been contributed by friends.
Commenting on the new service, Mark Zuckerberg – the site’s chief executive and original founder – insisted it was not designed to compete with conventional, comprehensive search engines. He said:
“We’re not indexing the web… that isn’t the intent. But in the event you can’t find what you’re looking for, it’s really nice to have this. We look at Facebook as a big social database.”
However, the new facility does also provide a link to the Bing search engine – which is run by Microsoft – in the event of Graph Search drawing a blank.
To allay any worries over privacy, Facebook is also insistent that information can only be accessed from those who had already once freely volunteered this information to the searcher in question.
Graph Search is currently available in beta test form, and a prompt has been added to members’ home screens inviting them to try out the new facility.