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Facebook Announces New Search Engine

FACE IN THE CROWD: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has just debuted a new feature dubbed Graph Search, which accesses information fellow users and friends have posted and shared. Which means I can ask which of my Facebook friends live in a particular place and like a particular movie/book/game; search for pictures of me with a particular person; query by hometown, gender, relationship status, etc.; and so on. Or I can reverse the search direction and find out what films or bands are recommended by my friends (or some subcategory thereof). This can be leveraged by copyright holders in myriad ways. Results will include only information that’s already available to the user. But the utility extends far beyond finding people in your extended circle who share your fondness for hiking or plushies. It can be a sort of “trusted Yelp” based on a dazzling array of search criteria. It’s useful in recruiting as it can locate users who are friends of friends who’ve held a particular position. Or research—one could find out what music is favored by any subsection of Facebook user publicly sharing his/her preferences. Because the search criteria are fixed, the results are, as MZ points out, answers to the question rather than links containing possible answers. In other words, all the personal info the site has been collecting about us for years can now be leveraged for whatever purposes users like.  The social media site has also announced a deal with Microsoft’s Bing for web searchs. The Facebook event introducing the addition is still going on, while its shares fluctuate. Wonderers wonder whether this new service for Facebook’s one billion-plus users will affect Google or other social media companies. In trading today, Google was flat, while Yelp, which relies on user content, was down more than 6.5%. FB users can get on a waiting list for the beta version by clicking the link above.  (1/15p)

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