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As our interns start the Spring semester and their time at Intrepid, we look forward to reviving our blog and hearing about industry news from their perspective.  This post, by Ben C., details Facebook’s press conference yesterday at their company headquarters.

In an effort to make the exponentially increasing number of connections on its website more accessible, Facebook announced yesterday that it is launching a new internal search engine. Graph Search, introduced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a press conference at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., will revamp the way that users discover information about friends, product recommendations, and pages.

The search engine will use specific search phrases, such as “sushi restaurants that my friends have been to in Los Angeles,” “hotels near the Eiffel Tower,” or “TV shows my friends like,” to navigate the user’s “social graph” and find specifics.

“When Facebook first launched, the main way most people used the site was to browse around, learn about people and make new connections,” said a company spokesperson in a Fox News article.  “Graph Search takes us back to our roots and allows people to use the graph to make new connections.”

For businesses, Graph Search can make exposure and discovery easier and faster through its improved search results page. The results page provides a more in-depth look of a company’s Facebook page by including how many likes the page has, links to related company pages, and how many friends like it.

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Preview of Graph Search results page Image: http://www.facebook-studio.com/news/item/introducing-graph-search-help-people-discover-your-business

According to Facebook’s Studio blog, business pages can still utilize sponsored results, regardless of whether or not the person searching is using Graph Search. Also, the search engine will continue to display Bing web search results along with the new results format.

Although it seems that this innovative search method would pose a major threat to rivals like Google, and even business-review sites like Yelp, Zuckerberg asserts that the company’s intention is not to take over the internet.

“We are not indexing the web. 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,” said the Facebook CEO according to a Forbes.com article.

The new search engine will only be available to “tens of thousands” of users for beta testing initially, but will open up for regular use with a few months, according to a Financial Times article.

Check out Facebook’s video outlining the new Graph Search feature:

And Mark Zuckerberg and Company explain it’s features:

Do you think you will use the new search features?  Have any of you been able to use Graph Search?  Let us know in the comments section!

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