Facebook search: Some possible uses

Besides looking for photos of Yosemite or friends’ recommendations of dentists or movies, Facebook executives gave some other interesting examples of how people might use their new “Graph Search” feature, unveiled Tuesday.

Product director Tom Stocky suggested someone might search for people who work for a particular employer and live in a certain area. That might be useful if you’re an employer who’s recruiting for a job opening and want to find, say, rocket scientists who work for NASA and live in the Bay Area, he said.

It’s also one indication of how Facebook might potentially develop commercial uses for the search function — by selling additional capabilities or features to professional recruiters or other businesses.

Stocky also suggested he might use the feature to help his wife find potential dates for her cousin, who recently moved to the San Francisco area from India. He showed a search for friends of friends, who are single men, who live in San Francisco and who also previously lived in India.

The idea of a dating search service  might raise some potentially creepy possibilities, at least in the minds of some.

But Stocky and other Facebook executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, were quick to note that any search would only turn up people who have opted to make the relevant information public or at least shared it with you. So if you search for photos of employees of a particular company, they said, you’ll only get photos from people who have shared their photos and who have also shared the name of their employer.

“I’m only able to search for what I’m already able to see on Facebook,” Stocky said.

Stocky, incidentally, used to work at Google, as did Facebook’s Lars Rasmussen, who also helped lead the development of Graph Search.

Brandon Bailey Brandon Bailey (281 Posts)

Brandon Bailey covers Google, Facebook and Yahoo for the San Jose Mercury News, reporting on the business and culture of the Internet.