Facebook Emphasizes Privacy as it Unveils Open Graph Search

By David Knight |

Facebook has launched a limited beta release of its open graph search giving users a simpler and more effective way of finding people, places, interests and photos. But Germany’s privacy guardians can rest easy – only content which is public or has already been shared with you can be found in the search, even if it might surprising to find pictures of yourself that were long-buried or that you didn’t even realise you had been tagged in.

Examples of terms you can look for with the new feature include ‘my friends in Berlin who like Cro‘ or ‘friends of friends who have been to the Volkspark Friedrichshain.’ Results will be different for every one as they depend on your particular social graph.

The graph search will appear as a larger search bar at the top of the Facebook page. You can create and change titles for each page of search results to further customise how you organise Facebook content.

Don’t get too excited yet, though, unless you use the US English version of Facebook, which the beta is limited to initially. It’s also important to point out that you can’t discover any new information that wasn’t available beforehand anyway. The open graph feature will be rolled out gradually from January 22.

Switching the way you discover information on Facebook from browsing to search is an obvious if bold choice – Google might not be looking nervously over its shoulder yet but that could change, especially with Mark Zuckerberg dubbing graph search the “third pillar” of Facebook after the news feed and timeline.