Facebook’s new “graph search” feature is designed to take straight-forward questions and tap into users’ circle of friends for answers.

Typing “friends San Francisco” in a graph search box atop a Facebook page prompts an all-to-easy hunt for those in a user’s circle who have made it known that they live in the City by the Bay.

But the feature was intended to be more sophisticated.

The query, for example, can be enhanced to seek “Indian restaurants liked by friends in San Francisco who are from India.”

Such a prompt generates a results page showing Facebook friends who have indicated they are from India along with restaurants that they “liked” and the respective eateries’ pages at the social network.

“We recently started asking people who check in at a place using Facebook to recommend it or rate it,” Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said while demonstrating the new search feature.

“There are so many people on Facebook that you can get a very good signal very quickly.”

Zuckerberg told of trying out a search of “friends who live in Palo Alto who like Game of Thrones” in order to decide who to invite to a viewing party for the opening of the latest season of the popular HBO cable program.

Along with showing which friends are fans of the show, it ranked the people according to how important they are in his life – giving his sister high status.

The query also indicated what other shows friends liked, providing suggestions as to programs he might enjoy watching.

Users can also perform searches based on categories.

A query about music liked by Republicans came up with results that seemed to have only The Beatles in common with a search for tunes liked by self-proclaimed liberals at Facebook.

(This article was published on January 16, 2013)
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