Facebook held its mystery event at its California headquarters last night, having announced the event early last week. The invitations asked us to join them to, “see what we’re building,” and naturally, anyone interested in phones immediately jumped to the conclusion we were about to meet the infamous Facebook Phone.
Sadly though, Facebook didn’t announce a phone or any other piece of hardware. Instead it talked about something called Graph Search, its name for an overhauled search feature for the social network. Rumours gathered just before the event that the company was planning a Google-challenging Web search program, however, Graph Search doesn’t search the Web, it only searches Facebook.
It does so in a unique way though, as you can use phrases such as, “shops my friends have liked,” or “tennis players nearby,” to find more relevant and helpful content, or connect with new people. It even respects existing privacy settings, so you’ll only ever see content shared with you or available publicly. At this early stage, it can be used to search through photos, people, interests and places. For Graph Search to be truly effective though, you’ll either need a lot of very active friends or for more people to make their profiles public.
The feature is in beta at the moment, and isn’t expected to be widely available very soon. You can sign up here to be put on the waiting list.
So, again the Facebook Phone remains a myth, and according to Mark Zuckerberg, that’s the way it will stay.