(AP) ó Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a new search feature today in the company's first staged event at its Menlo Park, headquarters in California.
The new service called "graph search," allows users to search their social connections for information about people, interests, photos and places.
It will also help users who, for instance, want to scroll through all the photos their friends have taken in Paris or search for the favorite TV shows of all their friends who happen to be doctors.
Until now, Facebook users were unable to search for friends who live in a certain town or like a particular movie.With the new feature, people can search for friends who, say, live in Boston who also like "Zero Dark Thirty".
Zuckerberg says the search feature is "privacy aware," which means users can only search for content that has been shared with them. Still, the company will have to make it clear to users that the new feature isn't unearthing information about them that wasn't already available.
Facebook is stressing that graph search will be made available to users very slowly, beginning Today. The search feature will only be available on Facebook's website for now, and only in English.
It will likely take more than a year for search to be available to all of Facebook's more than 1 billion users as the company's engineers and designers tweak the service based on how people use it.
Zuckerberg stressed that "graph search" is different from traditional Web search, the expanded feature escalates an already fierce duel between Google and Facebook, as they grapple for the attention of Web surfers and revenue from online advertisers.
Facebook is hoping to make web search easier for its users to quickly find many of the things that are most important to them such as: movie, music and restaurant recommendations from friends and family; photo galleries of people they care about; and new connections to old friends and other people with common interests.
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