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Facebook unveils new on-site search option

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 16 2013 6:20 a.m. MST

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Associated Press

Facebook introduced a search engine Tuesday that will allow users to search through in-site content like posts and "likes."

The feature, called "graph search," will allow Facebook users to search questions like "People who like cycling and live in my hometown" or "photos before 1990."

The feature is meant to challenge Facebook's rival, Google, according to CBS News.

Graph search could be just what Facebook needs to surpass Google, according to some analysts.

“If Facebook would decide to become serious about search, it would be in a position to give Google a run for its money,” IDC analyst Karsten Weide told The New York Times.

Colin Sebastian from Robert W. Baird told the Times: “Search, I would say, is a very high priority for Facebook. [It] has this incredible treasure trove of unstructured data on the site.”

Because Facebook is partnered with Bing search engine, results that can't be found through graph search will pull results from Bing.

"What is graph search? It's not web search," Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters at a press event at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

Facebook's graph search is still in beta. Zuckerberg said it's available today to "hundreds or thousands of users" in English only, and there is no scheduled release date for mobile. Users can join a waiting list to use the new feature by going to facebook.com/graphsearch.

Zuckerberg emphasized that the tool would not negatively affect users' privacy, according to The New York Times.

"On Facebook, most of the things people share with you aren't public. You want access to things that people have just shared with you," Zuckerberg said.

This press conference came after a press invitation sent out Jan. 8 that simply said "come and see what we're building," according to L.A. Times.

After the invitation, some wondered if the announcement would be a Facebook mobile device or a new iPad app. Others guessed the announcement would relate to better search functionality, especially since Zuckerberg said in September 2012 that Facebook receives 1 billion searches per day.

Reporters and bloggers filled the web with speculative posts about what Facebook would announce. Such speculation may have correlated to Facebook shares increasing. They opened at $32 and closed at $30.95 on Monday, which is the highest they've been in six months, according to The New York Times.

EMAIL: kardmore@deseretnews.com

TWITTER: Katie Ardmore

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