Facebook unveils a new search tool with an odd name but useful search functions

CLEVELAND - Ever try to search for something on Facebook and turn up with nothing? We provide so much information to the social media site, but it's hard to get access to all that information in a way we can use.  Facebook is trying to change the way we search for information by introducing Graph Search.

The name of the new search function seems a bit too technical for me. It appears to explain what's happening behind the scenes with all the information you share. Look beyond the name, because there is some useful functionality to this search option that will eventually appear on the top of pages. Currently, it's only in beta form as the social media powerhouse works on the bugs to this new tool.

The new search function will allow you to search for people in a whole new way. The first part of the roll-out will focus on your connections to people, photos, places and interests. For example, you can find people from your hometown who like hiking or have been to a certain place, photos of a certain location, restaurants in a town, tourist attractions in a country visited by your friends, or music your friends like. The search results will be based on the information others provide.

It's a way to connect with new people based on your interests or find out who might be a good source of information for a city or restaurant you might be thinking about visiting. Want to find a good Chinese food in a new city? This new search bar may provide you some useful suggestions and even maybe some reviews from friends. Need someone to bike with that lives near you? Try Facebook's new search tool once it's rolled out.

This will only be as good as the information feeding it, or the information you feed into it. Based on the example I saw, most of the information is pulled from your "about" section and the pages you like. I think as the tool becomes more advanced, the search will yield more results about pictures you took. That's why Facebook allows you to tag people in them and tag the place the photo was taken. All this information is valuable to this new search.

It's a way for you to search all the information people share about themselves and interests on Facebook. Currently it is a little tricky to search for specific people with interests and likes on Facebook. It will be much easier to find information people posted in the past rather than scrolling through their Timeline to find the content you are looking for. It will also be easier for you to see what you have in common with others.

Explore privacy settings
This new search function brings up the issue of privacy once again. You need to be careful what you share on Facebook, as so much of it is searchable. Spend some time exploring the Facebook privacy settings so you know exactly what is private and what is not. Of course, some of it you can't control as it depends on what your friends share about you as well. If you're tagged in a photo you don't want to be tagged in, delete the tag. Be proactive about your privacy. Don't let others control it.

Facebook said it will honor the privacy settings of individuals so search results for the Graph Search will vary based on the settings you choose.

"You can look up anything shared with you on Facebook, and others can find stuff you've shared with them, including content set to Public," Facebook said.

I think it might be hard to figure out how to use this new search tool at first, and of course there will always be those who complain about all the changes. The good thing with this change — if you don't like it, don't use it. It doesn't appear as though your entire profile page will change much like we saw with the Timeline changes. Just understand your information that you input on this free site will be searchable now and used by others in a whole new way. Perhaps ways you can't even imagine at this time. Be careful what you share if you're worried about privacy.

What do you think about the new tool? Will you use it once it's rolled out to everyone?


Content courtesy of jennstrathman.com. Jenn Strathman is also the consumer advocate for NewsChannel5. You can follow her stories on saving money, consumer trends, and ripoffs on Facebook and Twitter.

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