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Facebook search launches, changes the game, more to come

Facebook has long been working on search in partnership with Bing, today announcing a major shift in what they’ve been working on, and it could change everything.

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Facebook search revealed at live event today

Facebook has long said it is working on search, having partnered with Bing years ago to add context, and recently sharing that they will be reinventing search. At an ongoing event today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the new “Graph Search” the company is launching in limited beta is “not web search,” rather states, “We are indexing our map of the graph, which is really big and constantly changing. Almost a million new people every day. 240 billion photos. 1 billion people. 1 trillion connections.”

“Friend connections, locations, likes, comments, tags, it all adds up to indexing all this content and making it so you can retrieve it instantaneously is a really hard technical problem,” Zuckerberg notes, but the new offering appears to be their first step in offering search for users.

Facebok’s new “Graph Search”

As it rolls out, users will see a larger search bar atop the page, appearing like so, with suggested searches already included:

facebook search

“Graph Search and web search are very different,” Facebook said in a statement released today. “Web search is designed to take a set of keywords (for example: ‘hip hop’) and provide the best possible results that match those keywords. With Graph Search you combine phrases (for example: ‘my friends in New York who like Jay-Z’) to get that set of people, places, photos or other content that’s been shared on Facebook. We believe they have very different uses.”

Click here for videos about Graph Search and a message from Zuckerberg himself.

“Another big difference from web search is that every piece of content on Facebook has its own audience, and most content isn’t public,” they continue. “We’ve built Graph Search from the start with privacy in mind, and it respects the privacy and audience of each piece of content on Facebook. It makes finding new things much easier, but you can only see what you could already view elsewhere on Facebook.”

Is Facebook taking on Google?

While they say they aren’t doing web search yet, their partnership with Bing is likely working diligently in the background to erode Google’s marketshare as their social network remains significantly larger and more active than Google+, leaving Google vulnerable in the social search category. It’s not exactly a threat to Google, however, as the company appears to be promoting it as a way to connect more deeply with existing connections.

Graph Search is currently in limited beta, as Zuckerberg calls the project in “very early development,” as it is only available in one language (English), and posts as well as open graph actions are not available yet, but the company says they will be working on this to be released possibly within the calendar year. The current focus is on people, photos, places, and interests, and is a very basic start to what could change the social search scene as they later roll the feature out to all users, including mobile users.

The future of social search: supersize your business

For now, users have to sign up to join the wait list for Facebook’s Graph Search and will be notified when they’re included in the beta. In it’s current form, the focus is on personal connections. But what about the future? What does this mean for social search?

With the addition of two features, Graph Search could make a tremendous impact on professional life, doing more than taking on Google, but taking a shot at LinkedIn by adding relevance to people search, particularly when connecting with fellow professionals. These two features include the possibility of being able to search people you’re not yet connected with, and the ability to search within Pages.

Having already stated they will be tackling status updates in the future, sources tell AGBeat that they believe Facebook will ultimately make connections within Facebook Pages searchable, as well as Facebook Page status updates both current and past. Combine that capability with the ability to search non-connections, and you’ve added massive value to the average professional’s life at no cost to them, opening new ad revenue streams for Facebook.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. AmyVernon

    January 15, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Well, there goes the business model of building a company to search Facebook by scraping the site.

  2. Ken Brand

    January 15, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    I’m glad I share lot’s of stuff on my Facebook page, not about me so much, more about the market and things for others. To quote Shawshank, “time and pressure”. It’s always changing.

  3. rolandestrada

    January 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    It’s interesting because it’s FB. I don’t know that it’s a game-changer or revolutionary. Remember that FB is a walled garden. Anything FB does is intended to keep you on FB. For business, FB is one part of a marketing strategy but not the whole be all and end all.

    I’m amused by the declarative statements I see here and other sites that proclaim the “best thing since sliced bread”, only to see the shiny new thing fizzle out or fade into the background. I would remind readers to look back AOL’s glory days when AOL WAS the internet for millions of people. AOL was of course another walled garden.

    You need to take this all with a grain of salt. Facebook’s upgraded search has some interesting aspects. However, I see it more evolutionary than revolutionary.

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Grindr got busted for selling users’ data locations to advertisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) User data has been a hot topic in the tech world. It’s often shared haphazardly or not protected, and the app Grindr, follows suit.

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Grindr on phone in man's hands

If you’re like me, you probably get spam calls a lot. Information is no longer private in this day and age; companies will buy and sell whatever information they can get their hands on for a quick buck. Which is annoying, but not necessarily outright dangerous, right?

Wrong.

Grindr has admitted to selling their user’s data, however, they are specifically selling the location of their users without regard for liability concerns. Grindr, a gay hook-up app, is an app where a marginalized community is revealing their location to find a person to connect to. Sure, Grindr claims they have been doing this less and less since 2020, but the issue still remains: they have been selling the location of people who are in a marginalized community – a community that has faced a huge amount of oppression in the past and is still facing it to this day.

Who in their right mind thought this was okay? Grindr initially did so to create “real-time ad exchanges” for their users, to find places super close to their location. Which makes sense, sort of. The root of the issue is that the LGBTQAI+ community is a community at risk. How does Grindr know if all of their users are out? Do they know exactly who they’re selling this information to? How do they know that those who bought the information are going to use it properly?

They don’t have any way of knowing this and they put all of their users at risk by selling their location data. And the data is still commercially available! Historical data could still be obtained and the information was able to be purchased in 2017. Even if somebody stopped using Grindr in, say, 2019, the fact they used Grindr is still out there. And yeah, the data that’s been released has anonymized, Grindr claims, but it’s really easy to reverse that and pin a specific person to a specific location and time.

This is such a huge violation of privacy and it puts people in real, actual danger. It would be so easy for bigots to get that information and use it for something other than ads. It would be so easy for people to out others who aren’t ready to come out. It’s ridiculous and, yeah, Grindr claims they’re doing it less, but the knowledge of what they have done is still out there. There’s still that question of “what if they do it again” and, with how the world is right now, it’s really messed up and problematic.

If somebody is attacked because of the data that Grindr sold, is Grindr complicit in that hate crime, legally or otherwise?

So, moral of the story?

Yeah, selling data can get you a quick buck, but don’t do it.

You have no idea who you’re putting at risk by selling that data and, if people find out you’ve done it, chances are your customers (and employees) will lose trust in you and could potentially leave you to find something else. Don’t risk it!

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BeReal: Youngsters are flocking in droves to this Instagram competitor app

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As Instagram loses steam due to its standards of “perfection posting,” users are drawn to a similar app with a different approach, BeReal.

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BeReal is one of several “Real” apps exploding in growth with young users who crave real connections with people they know in real life.

According to data.ai, BeReal ranks 4th by downloads in the US, the UK, and France for Q1 2022 to date, behind only Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

BeReal flies in the face of what social media has become. Instead of curated looks that focus on the beautiful parts of life, BeReal users showcase what they’re doing at the moment and share those real photos with their friends. Their real friends.

It’s real. And real is different for a generation of social media users who have been raised on influencers and filters.

As the app says when you go to its page:

Be Real.

Your Friends

for Real.

Every day at a different time, BeReal users are notified simultaneously to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.

A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.

BeReal app

The app has seen monthly users increase by more than 315% according to Apptopia, which tracks and analyzes app performance.

“Push notifications are sent around the world simultaneously at different times each day,” the company said in a statement. “It’s a secret on how the time is chosen every day, it’s not random.”

The app allows no edits and no filters. They want users to show a “slice of their lives.”

Today’s social media users have seen their lives online inundated with ultra-curated social media. The pandemic led to more time spent online than ever. Social media became a way to escape. Reality was ugly. Social media was funny, pretty, and exciting.

And fake.

Enter BeReal where users are asked to share two moments of real life on a surprise schedule. New apps are fun often because they’re new. However, the huge growth in the use of BeReal by college-aged users points to something more than the new factor.

For the past several years, experts have warned that social media was dangerous to our mental health. The dopamine hits of likes and shares are based on photos and videos filled with second and third takes, lens changes, lighting improvements, and filters. Constant comparisons are the norm. And even though we know the world we present on our social pages isn’t exactly an honest portrayal of life, we can’t help but experience FOMO when we see our friends and followers and those we follow having the times of their lives, buying their new it thing, trying the new perfect product, playing in their Pinterest-worthy decorated spaces we wish we could have.

None of what we see is actually real on our apps. We delete our media that isn’t what we want to portray and try again from a different angle and shoot second and third and forth takes that make us look just a little better.

We spend hours flipping through videos on our For You walls and Instagram stories picked by algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves.

BeReal is the opposite of that. It’s simple, fast, and real. It’s community and fun, but it’s a moment instead of turning into the time-sink of our usual social media that, while fun, is also meant to ultimately sell stuff, including all our data.

It will be interesting to watch BeReal and see if it continues down its promised path and whether the growth continues. People are looking for something. Maybe reality is that answer.

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Team of deaf engineers at Snap create feature to help users learn ASL

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Snapchat engineers known as the “Deafengers” have created an ASL Alphabet Lens to help users learn the basics of ASL.

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Snap ASL feature

A team of Deaf and hard-of-hearing Snapchat engineers known as the “Deafengers” at the company have created an ASL Alphabet Lens to help users learn the basics of American Sign Language.

Using AR Technology, the Lens teaches users to fingerspell their names, practice the ASL Alphabet and play games to “put their new skills to the test.”

The Lens, launched last month, is the first of its kind and encourages users to learn American Sign Language.

In a press release Snapchat said, “For native signers, in a world where linguistic inequity is prevalent, we believe AR can help evolve the way we communicate. We look forward to learning more from our community as we strive to continuously improve experiences for everyone on Snapchat.”

Austin Vaday, one of the deaf engineers who helped develop the Lens said helping the world understand sign language is important. He shared his story with NBC correspondent Erin McLaughlin on TODAY after the Lens was released.

Vaday didn’t learn American Sign Language until he was 12. Before then he relied mostly on lip-reading to communicate. ASL changed his life. That life-changing moment helped inspire the ASL Alphabet Lens.

The ASL Alphabet Lens was designed and developed over six months in partnership with SignAll.

There are approximately 48 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States, according to the National Association of the Deaf.

Vaday said the ASL Alphabet Lens came from the desire to find a way to appropriately and properly educate people so they can communicate with those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Vaday said the team focused on the core values of intelligence, creativity, and empathy while working on the project and it’s a step to opening communication for all Snap users with the deaf and hard of hearing community.

The ASL Alphabet Lens is available to all Snapchat users.

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