On Monday, Facebook launched its upgraded search engine, Graph Search, which allows users to view anything they’ve shared or liked on Facebook. Graph Search will transform the way users search for people, photos, interests and places by asking the search engine specific questions. For example, you can ask “which of my friends lives in New York?” and it will display your friends that live in New York. If there are no Facebook results, the search engine will offer web search results by Microsoft’s Bing.
This new feature is an attempt to get more utility out of the vast amount of information Facebook users post about themselves and make it searchable. It’s faster, easier to use, and it picks up relevant results better than the current one. The idea is to make “things easier for people to find on Facebook.”
It’s a little creepy to me though- I gave it a try and graph searched a few different things. First, I chose the suggested prompt of “Photos I’ve Liked.” I was almost a little embarrassed when pictures of my high school days and friends flooded the screen. Wow I thought, I liked some of those pictures close to five years ago. I realized then that I definitely needed to update my privacy settings but there was nothing I could do to hide a picture on someone else’s profile I liked.
I understand that Facebook has the ability to make information more attainable for users but I’m not sure I can grasp the point. I understand there are potential benefits in a graph search like finding new restaurants your friends “like” or musicians who are popular among friends, but it’s gives off a stalker/creepy vibe. Someone out there has the potential to find an abundance of information about you just going by shared and liked Facebook posts.
As I continue working in the digital world it’s more and more relevant that just about anything you post online can be accessible with the right tools and knowledge.