Facebook on-site search engine, Graph Search, is rolling out now. Don't forget to update your privacy settings!

Six months ago, Facebook finally decided to go after Google, Yahoo, etc. with a new search product called Graph Search. Yesterday, Facebook's Graph Search feature was rolling out to everyone. What do you need to know about it? Not much... (the new logo maybe?) About your privacy settings? A bit more ... About the way you use Facebook?  It depends (as always) on what you like on Facebook... perhaps in the way you search for pictures... but otherwise, this new search product did not really convince me.

This morning, you probably realized that when you clicked on your notification button (at least on your laptop; not on your smartphone), Facebook asked you, under the privacy button, to "okay" a new tip.

Tip: Graph Search is rolling out now, so it's getting easier for people to find photos and other things you've shared with them. To check who can see your stuff, just click [the privacy button].

I was surprised to see it there and not on the top of my 'wall' (as it is always the case for other notification or new announcement). Perhaps this change is much more important for Facebook and requires more attention for their users. We only can underline the effort made by the Giant to mention that you should check your privacy settings. Or, in other words, that you can (should?) change the default "general public" option to "friends" option.   

So what's this new tool about? It just lets you to search Facebook's huge amount of data (photos, apps, places, likes, people who live near  ... who like ..., other interests posted to Facebook, etc.) to get consolidated results (if I'm not wrong, this option was already accessible for pictures in the past. Then, suddenly, Facebook made it impossible to look at friends' pictures without going on every friends' wall). Now, with this new tool, you can have access to a huge amount of data with a single click. But for that, users will need to feel comfortable sharing that data with Facebook... (see hereafter privacy settings).

I "used" it for the last six months (yes it was already possible to install it in advance) and, to be honest, didn't change much. If you like to see pictures of your friends, this option is pretty cool. But for the rest, I never really used "friends/people who live near (Munich for instance) who like (running, cats or Games of Throne)", simply because the results were not really useful. But that's just my experience...

About your privacy settings?

As we all know, Facebook wants to “make the world more open and connected". This on-site search engine is definitely a great tool to achieve this goal... BUT it doesn't mean that you cannot protect yourself. If you really care about your privacy, I strongly recommend you to read these 14 slides to protect your profile from unwanted searches. It clearly explains what to do and where to click in order to protect your profile from this new tool.
It's probably not the best timing for Facebook to launch this new product more broadly in the U.S. Post PRISM scandal that revealed a large-scale U.S. National Security Agency spying operation that had ties to, among others, Facebook (see my post here for more info http://d-is-freshinteresting.blogspot.nl/2013/06/much-more-than-transparent-optical.html), it is undeniable that people feel their trust has been violated. To be able to use this on-site search engine to make the world more open and connected, Facebook will need access to a huge amount of data and will have to overcome the challenge of getting users to share more of themselves (see more here). With PRISM, the sharing challenge is more than ever ... a big challenge!  Facebook will have to be careful with it, because people will be looking at this new tool very carefully.

NB: more info about Graph Search on ... Facebook, of course! https://www.facebook.com/about/graphsearch


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