What was available to only a few has finally reached the fingertips of the waiting public – Facebook's new graph search feature is now available for use from anyone and everyone.
When Facebook tweaks the design or application of its social media pages the company usually rolls out those changes subtly. That was basically the same case here – with no ads being run to promote the new feature and no big press release about graph search going public. Users were simply given the option to download the new application.
Graph search is Facebook's next big step in fixing the financial problems they've been having since the company went public late last year, and it's actually a pretty cool feature.
There was some anxiety about the privacy features initially regarding graph search, since you can find just about anyone with a click of a button. Simply search "people who live in St. James Minnesota" and you'll find thousands of people who have listed St. James as their current city.
You can click on their profile from there and look at anything that's public, or choose to narrow your search.
That definitely does cross some boundaries, but as usual, Facebook users have the ability to decide what is public information and what isn't on their profile.
What might be a burden for some is actually a blessing for others, especially with this mass search function. If you are looking for photos of St. James, or stories about St. James, or just people who like St. James, you can search for that.
I searched my hometown, Glenwood, Minn., and found a photo album filled with pictures of the city from the 1920s and earlier. It was a pretty neat find.
The graph search function also acts as the new 'Google' by allowing its users to do definitive web searches powered by Bing. Articles that pop up on the home page now may flag your attention and ask if you'd like to do a web search on the subject of the article. This is a great feature for people interested in researching a story further, or students looking to gain some information from multiple news sources.
Usually Facebook faces a lot of backlash when they release a new feature or change their design a bit – ironically people usually complain about these changes through a 'status' update. However, I don't foresee too many people complaining about the graph search feature. Its positive uses far out-weigh the cons. And, for those people who are determined to be unsearchable, Facebook still offers some of the strictest privacy settings on the web.