Hands on with Facebook Graph Search: Interesting, but disappointing

By Lex Friedman, PC World |  Networking, Facebook, facebook graph search

Suppose I choose Friends of my friends who live in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania--perhaps because I want to find old high school buddies I haven't reconnected with on Facebook yet. I get a list of results, which I can instead choose to view in a grid layout. What I don't get, but could be hugely useful for this type of search, is an option to sort results, perhaps starting with people with whom I have the most friends in common first. Another bizarre omission: I can't find an obvious way to exclude my own friends from results. When I'm searching for friends of my friends, it's a little silly (and recursive) when Facebook includes people I'm already friends with in my results.

I can refine the search in all sorts of ways that range from creepy to clever--gender, relationship status, current location, hometown, year of graduation, and plenty more.

But let's move beyond searching just for new friends.

Data-driven suggestions and results

Facebook's suggestions when I type in Music my friends like include Music pages my friends like, Music places my friends like, Music liked by me my friends listen to, and Music my friends who like Unprofessional listen to. (Unprofessional is a podcast I co-host and have clicked to "Like" previously on Facebook--Likes figure heavily into Graph Search's results and options.)

Some of those suggestions get nutty, for different reasons. Any search you perform for music you already like--and there are oodles of possibilities--will, of course, return only bands you've already clicked to Like on Facebook. So you can see, I suppose, different cross-sections of people who share your tastes, but I'm not sure how useful that is.

Even more flummoxing is Graph Search's habit of offering up search suggestions with no results. I encountered those far too often.

Potentially more useful is the ability to see other interests people you explicitly or potentially trust have, that might prove interesting to you as well. For example: Music my friends like, or Music my friends who like "Weird Al" Yankovic like. You can go broader, too: Music liked by people who like Jonathan Coulton.

It's unclear how these results are sorted, too. I can't tell if the fact that Michael Jackson is listed first under Music liked by people who like Microsoft means something significant, compared to the fact that Rihanna tops the list of Music liked by people who like Apple.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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