Facebook unveils search service
Facebook has unveiled a new search service for its users, which is designed to make it easier for them to find content that has been shared with them on the social network.
In the first major product announcement since the social network went public, founder Mark Zuckerberg said initially Graph Search would be available in a limited preview to users, and that it would allow users to look for photographs, people, places and members’ interests.
The first version, for example, will allow people to search for friends who live in a particular city, share interests or have visited a specific place. So a search could be for “photos my friends took in the 1990s”.
Photographs a user has liked, or taken before a certain date could also be subject to search.
In a post on its site, Facebook said Graph Search was a new way for Facebook users to find people, photos, places and interests most relevant to users on Facebook.
Zuckerberg said Facebook was not indexing the web, but indexing “our map of the graph”, adding that it was “very, very different“ to web searching. The social network recorded more than one billion active monthly users last October, with 81 per cent outside the US and Canada. Almost half a billion users logged on to the site each day last September, and its mobile products attract more than 600 million monthly users.
Addressing some of the inevitable concerns over privacy, Mr Zuckerberg said the new search facility would respect the privacy settings specified by users. Facebook may explore ways to earn revenue from the service in the future, he added.
Shares in Facebook fell 2 per cent after the announcement. Speculation had been rife in recent days about Facebook’s plans, with rumours that the company was planning to release a Facebook phone, revamp its timeline or unveil a new messaging app for the iPad.
There was also talk of a paid-for messaging system, sparked after it was discovered that the social network was trialling a system that required users to pay to send messages to certain high-profile executives.
It cost $100 (€75) to message Zuckerberg, according to reports.
Elsewhere in tech stocks, shares in Apple fell further towards $485 amid speculation over a fall in orders for the iPhone 5. The speculation was sparked over reports of a fall in the number of components Apple has ordered for the phone.
Dell stock rallied, following a 13 per cent surge on Monday, following speculation over a potential buyout of the company.
Sources claim Dell is discussing a leveraged buyout with private-equity firms TPG Capital and Silver Lake. Its stock has lost 43 per cent over the past five years, compared with a 3.8 per cent gain by the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index.
Going private could give chief executive Michael Dell added flexibility to vie with Apple and Samsung Electronics for consumers while combating Oracle, Cisco Systems and IBM in the market for data-centre gear. “They could generate a tremendous amount of cash for many years to come, or they could be more dramatic and invest heavily in a mobile strategy – and not be scrutinised by public investors every quarter while they did it,” said Rich Kugele, an analyst at Needham and Co.
A deal could be announced this week, said one person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.
– Additional reporting: Agencies