Facebook Graph: First Impressions

Posted on: 16th Jul 2013 by: Dokoo

Graph Search is intended to change the way you look for people, photos and interests. It is described as Facebook’s third pillar - pillar one and two being Timeline and News Feed. The idea behind the update is to make the huge amount of content on Facebook easier to find. It is also intended to keep users browsing and sharing for longer. Graph Search is currently being rolled out, with American users - those that have their language setting to English US - being the first to test the feature.

On Saturday morning I received the pleasant surprise that my Facebook account got upgraded with the new feature. I felt a sense of pride for fooling Facebook into thinking I was American by changing my language setting to English US. But I was more excited to see what all the fuss was about.

When you are using Graph Search it is supposed to recognise natural language and try to predict what you’re looking for. However I have found that there are some glitches with it, but you quickly learn the phrases that will help you get you a result.

So how useful is Facebook Graph Search? Here are some general searches I carried out.

1. I am looking for a restaurant in Belfast that has the highest number of likes from friends

So I type in “Restaurants in Belfast, United Kingdom liked by my friends”

It generates a list of results of local restaurants. I find out that Boojum is liked by 22 friends. Interesting but not surprising as Boojum is a fantastic place to get food.

I can also find out what restaurants a specific friend has visited. For this I just need to search “Restaurants in Belfast, United Kingdom visited by    ”. That’s pretty useful as I can message them through Facebook to find out what their thoughts are on a particular restaurant(s).


2. I am in the process of applying for my passport and I need a witness who is a doctor to verify my application.

So I search for “My friends who are Doctors” it does not generate a result which is strange as I know that a few of my friends are practicing doctors. I put this down to my friends not updating their profile or choosing not to publically share such information.

So to get around this I type in another search phrase;

“My friends who studied Medicine and live in Belfast, United Kingdom”

This time I get two results. However I kind of knew the answer already so it did not provide a huge amount of value but it does serve as an example of possible usefulness.

I can also find out who of my friends are single, those who like Coca Cola or support Manchester United etc. Its early days yet, but the principle of making stuff easier to find on Facebook is welcomed. I can see how recommendations for things like restaurants or holiday destinations could work but getting into more personal information may be harder to access as that information may not be publically available.

The more people share, the more information that can be retrieved. Facebook will be hoping that people will continue to share and not be unduly concerned about their privacy.


Peadar is a project manager @ Dokoo

Dokoo is a digital agency in Belfast. Our award-winning services have helped many businesses optimise their social media in Northern ireland.

Tags: Marketing, Graph Search, Facebook, Holywood, Digital Marketing, advertising, Social Media Belfast, Facebook training, Facebook ads, social media advertising, Facebook advertising,