Facebook Used to Be Fun—Graph Search Makes It Useful

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you get to try it out yourself. (You can sign up to join the waiting list for Graph Search here.) Meanwhile, I’ll share some of the queries I’ve tested and give you a taste of the results that came back, along with some commentary.

For context: I have 475 friends on Facebook, which is about twice the average number. About 70 of those friends are people I know from high school, 34 are people I know from college, and most of the rest are colleagues, former colleagues, or people I’ve met in the course of my journalistic work.

My friends who are musicians—1 result. This was odd, because I have way more musician friends than that. I think the problem is that most of them don’t explicitly describe themselves as “musicians” in their profiles.

Hotels in Las Vegas visited by my friends—24 results. Including Excalibur. I’m going to unfriend the guy who stayed there.

Photos taken at hotels in Las Vegas uploaded by my friends—more than 100 results. Apparently what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas after all.

Movies liked by my friends who liked Midnight in Paris—Fewer than 100 results, including some unexpected ones: John Carter, The Big Lebowski, and Run Lola Run.

Restaurants in San Francisco liked by people who like Cha-Ya Vegetarian Japanese Restaurant—More than 100 results, including Herbivore, Millennium, and Gracias Madre. This was a truly useful query, since I hadn’t heard of any of those places.

Photos taken at vegetarian & vegan restaurants in San Francisco liked by my friends—nearly 100 photos, believe it or not. That’s why I love it here.

Religious views of my friends—more than 100 results, including one Jedi and one Pastafarian.

My friends who work at Google—6 results. I actually know a lot more people than that at Google, but maybe they hang out on Google+ rather than Facebook.

My friends who work at Google and went to Stanford University—2 results. You can see how recruiters will love Graph Search.

Photos taken in Paris, France, uploaded by my friends—about 94 results. Half of them just show the Eiffel Tower, but some of them are really good.

Games liked by my friends who like Angry Birds—more than 100 apps listed. But they’re all Facebook apps, and I’m not a big Facebook gamer. This feature would be more useful if it listed iOS apps. Which it never, never will.

My photos liked by my friends—More than 100 results. Facebook sends a notice to your News Feed every time a friend likes one of your photos, but it’s easy to lose track of this type of information. Graph Search helps you bring it all back together.

Bookstores visited by my friends—15 results, topped by Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park, CA. I guess I’ll have to check it out.

Movies liked by people who are journalists—more than 1,000 results, topped by The Godfather. Go figure. All the President’s Men or Citizen Kane would have been my predictions.

Music liked by people who like Imogen Heap—more than 1,000 bands listed, with Radiohead, Björk, Depeche Mode, and Coldplay at the top of the list.

As you can see, Graph Search understands many different types of queries, and it’s pretty good at grammar too. You can construct searches relating to about 20 types of pages (athletes, books, cities, colleges, countries, employers, games, grad schools, high schools, interests, languages, … Next Page »

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Wade Roush is the producer and host of the podcast Soonish and a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @soonishpodcast

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  • Kelly

    Facebook is a complete joke! how people get wrapped up in that garbage I’ll never know. The things people will share with complete strangers never ceases to amaze me. http://www.ficksitall.blogspot.com

  • TDT

    Better unfriend that person who liked Coldplay, too . . .

  • Matthew Petersen

    I use facebook like an RSS feed, and little more than that.