Facebook begins rolling out Graph Search to U.S. users

The search engine will allow people using Facebook to more quickly find answers to questions about friends in their Social Graph.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
2 min read
Facebook's Graph Search. Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET

Brace yourself for another Facebook search bar change.

The social-networking giant will begin rolling out an advanced search feature on Monday designed to tap its massive base of 1 billion users to answers users' questions about people, photos, places, and interests. Graph Search, which was announced earlier this year, will be available to users in the United States and others who use the American English version of the site, with access to other languages coming soon, a Facebook representative told CNET.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the new feature in January, billing it as a new way find people, photos, places, and interests that are most relevant to Facebook users. By incorporating various filters such as "place type," "liked by," and "visited by friends," people can use the structured search tool to find people in their network and uncover potential connections.

The new tool, which was rolled out to a limited number of users earlier this year, will appear as a bigger search bar at the top of each page, replacing the usual white search bar. Not to be confused with Web searches, which use a set of keywords to come up with results that best match the search words, Graph Search combines phrases to return content from its own audience.

Recognizing that the new tool exposes a copious amount of personal data that members may not realize is available for public scrutiny, Facebook has been working to quell users' privacy fears, including implementing specific search rules that dictate what results regarding teenagers that adults can see.

The search feature could prove key to keeping users members engaged on the site. My CNET colleague, Jennifer Van Grove, called the discovery tool "smart, original, and a foundational piece of Facebook's future as a relevant social network."