Facebook today (Jan. 15) unveiled "Graph Search," a new way for its members to search for information about each other on the gigantic social-networking site.
Its search results will apparently be limited to information posted by "friends of friends," but another word for that term is "strangers."
In other words, it's time to adjust your Facebook privacy settings once again.
So if you don't want your mother's canasta pals to see photos of you shotgunning beer bongs, or to learn that you're in a same-sex relationship, go through your privacy settings and restrict every category of information that you'd rather the entire world not know to "Friends" only.
If you're a particularly promiscuous Facebook user who "friends" everyone you went to school with, it might be better to dial everything back to "Close Friends." That category's a whitelist you create of people whom you really consider to be true friends.
800 million people, sliced and diced
Facebook isn't making Graph Search publicly available yet, but it's taking names for a waiting list.
Its pages touting the feature are full of images and videos of attractive, affluent and diverse young people in California doing California things, but don't offer a lot of detail.
What's clear is that simply searching for individuals by name, as Facebook already does, Graph Search will let you get specific, such as "single men who live in Detroit."
It'll return all Facebook friends of your friends in that category who allow their relationship status and city of residence to be viewable to, well, friends of friends.
That does sound pretty useful, if that's indeed what you're looking for. For those not seeking love, it would still be handy to find mutual friends in a city you plan to visit soon.
Try it yourself
A stand-alone page entitled " How Privacy Works with Graph Search " offers working searches, such as "People who live in San Francisco, California" or "Photos of me."
Interestingly, you can see a lot of results from those demonstration searches, but you can't click through to the individual Facebook pages that the information comes from.
Presumably, those links will work when Graph Search goes live.
"You can find friends of friends who have common interests, friends of friends who are interested in ballroom dancing or running or hiking," says Facebook product director Tom Stocky in one of the videos. "In many ways, what this will do is make your community feel a bit smaller — make the world feel a bit smaller."
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