Facebook testing mobile web search feature similar to Graph Search (UPDATED)
Not long after Facebook announced Graph Search about a year and a half ago, the big question was when it would be available on mobile. It appears that Facebook is taking steps toward this, as Inside Facebook has discovered a test of search capabilities similar to Graph Search on mobile web. Facebook has previously been testing it on the mobile app, as well.
A Facebook spokesperson told Inside Facebook on Tuesday that this is not officially Graph Search, but rather an improvement to Facebook’s mobile web search feature, borrowing functionality from the desktop product:
We’re testing improvements to Facebook mobile search.
Despite having “graphsearch” in the URL (see below screenshot), Facebook claims that this is not an official mobile web Graph Search product.
On mobile web (not the Facebook app), some users can search for topics and posts, as well as queries such as pages my friends like — with functionality similar to Graph Search on desktop.
Users can search for stories based around a keyword, as illustrated above with Pepe and Kendall Jenner.
Facebook also allows mobile web users to search for keywords on people, public/friends posts, pages, photos, groups, places, apps and events:
The mobile web version of search can also understand more complex queries that could be game-changers in the local search game, allowing users to find places near them, as well as entities they’re connected to through their friends.
Though it’s lightweight and has much of the same functionality of desktop Graph Search, it could be a major competitor to local search apps such as Yelp and Urbanspoon. If Facebook tapped more into social context to show reviews from friends or more information that only Facebook has — such as posts and reviews by friends about places nearby — it could have a more efficient way to showcase local data, right within its own blue walls.
It could also be a boon if Facebook ever opened mobile Graph Search up for advertising, with a model similar to Yelp’s. The social network could add a layer of social relevance to Yelp’s offering by allowing advertisers to place ads with the social context of friend activity.
This could also bring the power of Graph Search to those who shun Facebook’s battery and data-draining app in favor of the lighter mobile browser version.
Yes, the mobile web browser also recognizes “My homies.”
This appears to just be a test and we’re not sure if there’s any date in place for a rollout, but we’ll keep you updated.
Readers: What do you think of this?