CEO Mark Zuckerberg addresses concerns over Facebook’s privacy settings
California – Arabstoday
Facebook has ramped up its search capabilities as the world's leading social network in a budding challenge to Google, LinkedIn, Yelp and other Internet firms.The new "graph search" feature
launched in a test version allows Facebook members to delve into the vast amount of information on Facebook, which is not available on Web search engines such as Google.
Facebook worked closely with Bing on the search feature that lets people get answers to queries such as "What songs do my friends like?" along with pulling in online information from the Microsoft search engine.
"We expanded our relationship with Bing," Facebook engineer Tom Stocky said during a press event at the social network's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, the first major announcement since Facebook went public in May.
"We worked closely with Bing to make web searches feel more a part of Facebook," Stocky added.
A fledgling version of graph search, designed to let Facebook members perform natural language searches for places, pictures or films that their friends liked, was released for US English-language users on Tuesday.
"We look at Facebook as a big social database," Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said. "Just like any database, you should be able to query it."
Facebook emphasised that the new effort was aimed at helping members find certain information archived within the network and in the content of friends, but had woven in the web search power of Bing.
Zuckerberg said: "We are not indexing the web here; we are indexing our map of the graph."
Tech analyst Jeff Kagan said the new Facebook effort is a potential challenge to Google.
"If I were Google, I would see this as a Facebook warning shot across their bow. This is not an immediate attack, but nevertheless an attack is coming," Kagan said.
Facebook also showed off how graph search could be used to find potential job candidates, such as engineer friends of NASA employees, or restaurant recommendations in potential challenges to LinkedIn, Yelp and other networks.
Zuckerberg and Facebook engineers stressed tools built in to protect privacy, a concern that typically fuels controversy every time the social network makes changes to the service.
"Privacy is going to be one of the big questions people have, which is why we want to get those tools not only built but out in front of people," Zuckerberg said.
"There is nothing visible now that wasn't visible before.”
Zuckerberg said that building images from smartphone photo-sharing service Instagram into graph search, along with restaurant reviews, travel recommendations and more, would be part of Facebook's "road map" for years to come.