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The Making of Facebook’s Graph Search

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The Graph Search icon.

Graph Search could help Facebook challenge Google's dominance in Internet search.

Credit: Facebook

Facebook recently released its Graph Search search engine, which sorts through a user's Internet connections to find links between their acquaintances and other information stored in Facebook databases, such as the establishments they frequent and businesses in which they are interested.

Graph Search, which debuted in a controlled-release in January, could help Facebook grow from a possibly expendable tool for entertainment and communication into a search tool that could challenge Google's search dominance.

"If you’re getting useful information about contractors and vacation planning and other advice, you start to rely on it in a way people rely on Google," says Opus Research analyst Greg Sterling.

Creating Graph Search was a challenge that began in April 2011 when CEO Mark Zuckerberg approached computer scientist Lars Rasmussen about developing a structured search engine over all the data that people share on Facebook. Rasmussen, who became the engineering director of Graph Search, started the project by creating a JavaScript prototype that could answer questions such as, "Who are my friends who live in New York?"

Users initially had difficulty with the prototype, and data volume presented another challenge, with Facebook adding more than 9 billion new pieces of data a day.

From IEEE Spectrum
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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