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Facebook Radically Revamps Its Search Engine

Mark Zuckerberg speaks with journalists after introducing Graph Search at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
Mark Zuckerberg speaks with journalists after introducing Graph Search at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.Photograph by Noah Berger/Bloomberg

In an effort to make the content and preferences of its 1 billion users more discoverable, Facebook today announced a new feature called Graph Search—a long-awaited effort to improve its previously underachieving search engine. If it catches on with users, the tool, which the company says will move into a limited beta period today for the site’s English speakers, could challenge a range of other Internet companies, from archrival Google to ratings services like Yelp, and even video streaming sites such as Netflix.

Graph Search, Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said at a press conference at the company’s new headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., offers a different experience than the kind of Web searches enabled by Google, which can be open-ended and return a range of links. The new feature, at first, will take more precise queries related to four topics—people, places, photos, and interests—and return answers that are constrained by the content and preferences specified by the searcher’s community on the social network.