Facebook has just launched the latest salvo in its war with Google to take over your entire online life. Something called "Graph Search" sounds innocuous enough, but it actually pulls a lot of information together from both your own posts and those of your Facebook friends, making it easier than ever to sift through your socially networked world.
The idea with Graph Search is that you can search for very specific people and things within your network. So for example, you could search for pictures of friends who are female, live in your town, and are single. Then presumably you could hit them up for a date. The same type of personalization also works for more pragmatic searches, so you could search for shoe stores that your friends have liked, or for music that friends you went to college with have liked. You'll also be able to target your searches in a much more personal way than Google, so if a computer engineer searches for Apple, the results list will be very different than if a farmer entered the same search terms.
For all of this to work, tagging, labeling, and liking posts and pictures will take on new importance, so look forward to fresh incentives to get us clicking on those buttons. You're also going to want to pay much more attention to your privacy settings, because Graph Search could make it much easier for creepy stalker types to learn far more about you than you might want. No longer will that casual sign in you clicked at some "gentleman's club" disappear into the distant past on your timeline, as a quick Graph Search will now bring it right back up again.
As with most recent Facebook developments, making money is one obvious objective behind Graph Search, and undoubtedly targeted advertising will take on a whole new meaning once this service is fully rolled out. Look for Facebook power users with lots of fans to get comped at restaurants and other businesses, so long as they click on that ever present 'like' button.
Graph Search is currently in a very limited beta test for US users only. If you want to start stalking your friends early, you can add your name to the waiting list by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom of the page.
Check out the video below to see Mark Zuckerberg explain the ideas behind Graph Search.