Facebook has confirmed it’s testing a mobile version of Graph Search – the social network’s unique search function that allows you to connect people you know with places and things you’re curious about.
If you aren’t familiar with Graph Search yet because you haven’t used it or it’s not available to you (currently only those using Facebook in English have access), it’s a handy little tool that lets you dream up scenarios to your heart’s content, like how many of your friends have read the book, “To Kill a Mockingbird” (try that search and see!) or any other factoid you may be interested in.
To use it, you just begin typing a query in the Facebook search bar, as illustrated below:
Some reports are criticizing Facebook’s slow adaption of Graph Search to mobile. Graph Search rolled out to English-speaking users in August 2013, but first launched in January of last year.
Zuckerberg attempted to explain away the lag in a mobile release with remarks about the complexity of indexing more than 1 trillion connections and a trillion status updates. Graph Search, he insisted, is a multiyear effort.
But it really isn’t an easy task, as we found out late last year when we took a peek under the hood of a new feature in Graph Search. Back in October 2013, Facebook added a layer of complexity to the search, allowing users to seek out posts, comments, and more in addition to what Graph Search had already been able to do.
In October, a Facebook engineer talked about what goes into being able to search for posts in Graph Search. He highlighted the fact that the “posts index” was much larger than any other at Facebook; the company had to move from RAM to solid-state flash memory to accommodate the more than 700 terabytes of data in the posts index.
For the lucky few who have been chosen as test cases for the mobile rollout of Graph Search, it seems much of the functionality is business as usual; however, the real potential, reported Mashable, is the local angle.
No confirmation yet from Facebook on exactly when this feature will be official; however, in the company’s Q4 earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg indicated it would be “pretty soon.”