Facebook Graph Search: How Is It Different From Google Search?

Facebook has yesterday unveiled a very important update to the social network, Graph Search. This is essentially the most promising search algorithm in effect within the social network. We all know the existing Facebook search system that returns more irrelevant results than relevant ones. With Graph Search, it is going to take a turn for good. Is this a competition to Google search? Let’s see…

Facebook Graph Search is not a web search thingy. It is within Facebook and can search only what your friends and others generally have shared with you. For instance, you can do a search for “My friends who like Michael Jackson” and Facebook will give you a list of your friends who have liked Michael Jackson profile page.

Facebook Graph Search


On the official Facebook Graph Search page, you have examples like this. Most of these searches have the keyword, “my friends” in them. This is probably an indicator used by Facebook to identify you are searching for a list of your friends who do a particular thing. What if you search instead for “my buddies (pals) who like cycling”? We should see whether Facebook returns proper results for that from the friends list.

When the Graph Search comes out of private Beta, you will be able to test it better. For the time being, get invited into the Graph Search Beta test and hope to get it approved soon.

Google Search on the other hand, is the king of web search, and it will remain so. Graph Search cannot be done outside Facebook. Anything you want to find inside Facebook, you have to use Facebook search only; there is no Google jurisdiction inside Facebook. However, you can always search for Facebook pages through Google. Try search keywords like “Tom Cruise on Facebook” you will get immediately the relevant Facebook page.

In order to return all the results from Facebook, try simple Google search like “Tom Cruise site:facebook.com” and Google will return only the results from Facebook. You will get all the relevant results here.

In reverse, currently Facebook also provides you with web search results. It uses Bing search engine for that. In effect, it’s like you are searching on Bing.

Facebook search web results


When Graph Search becomes available, you will be able to get more relevant results from Facebook concerning your friends and generally the users of Facebook. Also, since Facebook profiles have privacy restrictions, only the results shared with the outside world will be searchable. Graph Search is only inside Facebook, and outside, in the web, there is no substitute for Google search.

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