When the news broke that Facebook was making a big announcement about an innovative new product, all eyes were on the social media network, and the internet was ablaze with speculation as to what the announcement was to reveal.
The rumour that a Facebook phone was passed around the internet but it appeared that it was simply that, just a rumour. Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg took to the stage to announce the introduction of an exciting new search feature that would make accessing data about Facebook friends a great deal easier – Facebook Graph.
This may have seemed a welcome move for some people but there were those that felt it may become invasive, was not required and others felt disappointed that the announcement was somewhat underwhelming. So what exactly is Facebook Graph proposing to do and is it really necessary?
The feature works on the basis that sometimes finding information on Facebook is a little tricky and as everything on Facebook is seen as a ‘social graph’ by Mark Zuckerberg – a living database of connections all being updated by the many users that participate – information mining should be simpler. For example, if a friend has claimed in the past that they liked a particular subject such as a music star and that star was coming to town and the user was considering going in a group to the gig, Facebook Graph will help find those friends that are into the same music.
Another example would be if a user is looking for a way to sell their phone and they remember that a friend sold their Blackberry recently on a website but they couldn’t remember which friend or the name of the website; Facebook Graph could help find this information. They could search for ‘how to sell blackberry bold 9900’ and the friend who was selling their phone would be revealed with the status about selling their Blackberry.
When the new Facebook Timeline was released it faced a barrage of questions, complaints and resistance but that appears to have died down over recent months and no doubt Facebook Graph will come under the same amount of scrutiny.
One question is – is Facebook Graph giving the users something they actually need? After all, it can be difficult to retrieve information on a subject that a friend has discussed several months or years ago and it can be hard to remember who mentioned the subject so Facebook Graph could be the ideal tool to use for this particular type of query.
Some may see it as having little use but consider how many times an email search has revealed a vital piece of information in day to day life and this may just be the tool that everyone will need to use at some point or another. Rather than being an all out search engine, Facebook Graph is essentially a query tool on a growing database and no doubt it will come in handy for many different uses. Time will indeed tell.
By Ben Freeman, who is a freelance technology writer writing articles on everything ranging from how to sell ipad tablets to the latest and greatest in technological advances, particularly in the area of mobile phones.