Facebook Graph Search – the semantic solution

Facebook has just unveiled it’s most recent feature – the ability to search your social network in an more intelligent way aka. Graph Search. You can now construct natural queries such as “What restaurants do my friends like?” which is a quantum leap from keyword-based search and a vast improvement on the frankly abominable search feature Facebook has barely bothered to provide since inception.

Some people are scathing in response to the example of “Which of my friends live in San Fransisco?” e.g. as Mannyac responded “If you don’t know this, you shouldn’t be fiends with them, you idiot! Never mind, an ideal tool for perverts and stalkers !”

Google can rest easy for the moment as it’s not the Semantic Web we were looking for. However, despite the search data-set being limited to your network and by privacy settings, it could become incredibly powerful and intuitive to use. I’m sure Facebook would like everything to be social one day so their search would eventually include everything.

The thing I like about it the most is it’s another great example of the rise of the CLI which I believe will have another heyday as we conquer natural language interfaces via semantic search and commands. Recent fun experiments from GitHub, XKCD and Mozilla have shown how intuitive it is to command and control a website through written commands. I hope pretty soon Facebook will tie in the search commands with their custom semantic actions in a nice predictive CLI.

“Which is the most listened to album by my friends?”

[1 album found]

“Buy it on Amazon!”

“Find all my friends who haven’t messaged me in a year?”

[300 friends found]


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