Behind Facebook’s Graph Search Tool

Facebook previewed a new natural-language search tool today that they’re calling “Graph Search”. Steven Levy of Wired has a great article about how it was built:

The company already had truckloads of information, but it was hard for users to access. Who are my friends in New York City? What books are my friends reading? Is there anyone nearby who loves Wilco? What’s an Italian restaurant that people really like? The new search product would answer such queries. But [former Google employee Lars] Rasmussen’s team faced a tough quandary: whether to focus on the most popular kinds of questions — or take on the tougher challenge of building a smarter search engine that would let users ask Facebook pretty much anything.

Some pundits are indifferent. But Facebook is a huge company with a massive user base — by default, any product decision they make is news. And, like Federico Viticci and Rene Ritchie are speculating, imagine how this could integrate with Siri.