Facebook Graph Search: Facebook Takes on Google With New Search Tool


"For every post you shared, there's an option so you can share this publicly, or with friends, or only me. For each item you basically have the control over what audience that's shared with," he said.

Advertising; Taking on Google?
The feature might seem like a simple product addition, but not only has it been in the works since mid-2011, it puts Facebook in a unique position as a search engine competitor to Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft's Bing. However, Facebook says it hopes to provide something entirely different -- something that's more personalized.

"I think the thing that makes this product the most interesting is the content that you have access to," Lars Rasmussen, one of the lead engineers who has worked on the tool since its inception, said. "I think most of the stuff people are going to see again or discover anew is not going to be public, and that's what makes it so new and different from any other product out there."

Rasmussen and Stocky both worked at Google before joining Facebook.

Google itself has tried to get into social search with its Google Plus and Google search integration. But while Google handles over 100 billion search queries a month, a small fraction of its users have embraced its Google Plus social network.

Microsoft took another route with Bing, partnering with Facebook to show relevant Facebook information on the right side of a Bing.com page when you enter a search query. But the success of the Bing site depends on your friends opting in to the social search function.

Like Google and Microsoft, Facebook will likely be able to generate new revenues with search ads.

"You do a search on Google because you have a particular thing that you're after, the ads that they have shown are very compelling," Danny Sullivan, the editor of Search Engine Land, told "Nightline." "And so this already has some of that same monetization. You'll go through and start to do a search, and it's already suggesting in some cases that there's an ad and that there's somebody who's already a match."

But Facebook says that isn't in the immediate plan.

"Right now we are focused squarely on the user experience," O'Neill said. "This product was built for the people who use Facebook, to help them really to take advantage of the information that they've shared with each other. There aren't any ads in the results of Graph Search. We may monetize this further in the future, but we have no immediate plans to do so."

Either way, Facebook is hoping you'll start searching more when the Search Graph begins in a limited test to Facebook's U.S. users starting today.

You can go to facebook.com/graphsearch to get on the waiting list.

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