Facebook Graph Search is a semantic search engine being rolled out by Facebook. It is designed to give answers to user natural language queries rather than a list of links.
Graph Search operates by use of a search algorithm similar to traditional search engines such as Google. However, the search feature is distinguished as a semantic search engine, searching based on intended meaning. Rather than returning results based on matching keywords, the search engine is designed to match phrases, as well as objects on the site.
Search results are based on both the content of the user and their friends’ profiles and the relationships between the user and their friends. Results are based on the friends and interests expressed on Facebook, and also shaped by users’ privacy settings. In addition to being restricted from seeing some content, users may be able to view relevant content made publicly available by users that are not listed as friends.
Entries into the search bar are auto-completed as users type, with Facebook suggesting friends and second degree connections, Facebook pages, automatically-generated topics, and finally Web searches for anything Facebook is not yet able to search for.
The operation of the search feature depends on user involvement. The feature is intended to promote users to add more friends, more quickly. In doing so, it can provide updating, more data-rich results and stimulate use of the feature.
Facebook supports searches for the following types of objects:
Places (limitable to a specific location (latitude and longitude) and distance)
Check-ins of the user, friends, or where user or friends have been tagged
Objects with location information attached. In addition, the returned objects will be those in which the user or friends have been tagged, or those objects that were created by the user or friends.
Users can filter results, such as in time (since and until), or search only a given user’s News feed.
The feature also allows users to search the web directly.