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Facebook Adds More Powerful Search Capabilities To Its Social Network Site

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Ian Bush Ian Bush
Ian Bush is an anchor, reporter, news editor, and technology editor&nb...
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By tech editor Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Facebook is taking on Google, Yelp, LinkedIn and even online dating sites — at least within its own domain.  The social network has unveiled a unique search tool that lets you delve deeply into what your friends and others share on the site.

Say, for example, you know her name is Jenny and you met her at your friend’s party and she went to Penn and likes the Phillies.

Now, Facebook is aiming to help you fill in the blanks with its new feature called “Graph Search.”  It uses what you and your friends have shared and what Facebook’s one billion users have made public — such as people, places, photos, and interests — to find more intuitive answers.

For example, you could ask:

  •  “show me photos of friends taken at the Liberty Bell”
  •  “what restaurants in New York City were liked by my friends from England?”
  •  “who are people who have been product managers or company founders?” (LinkedIn might see a challenge to its core product with that one.)

And it could be a new way to date: you can ask Graph Search for “friends of my friends who are single in Philadelphia and are from Australia.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says you are only able to search for what you’re already able to see on Facebook.  Still, this might be the time to recheck your Facebook privacy settings for what you share with others.

Facebook has partnered with Bing, Microsoft’s search product, to provide answers to queries that don’t produce enough results within Graph Search.

For now, Graph Search is in beta test.  You can sign up for the wait list at facebook.com/graphsearch.

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