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Facebook adds 'social' search function

Jan. 15, 2013 at 2:48 PM

MENLO PARK, Calif., Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Facebook has announced a search feature it says will allow users to search the site for information about their friends' interests, and for photos and places.

The feature -- dubbed Graph Search and introduced Tuesday by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg -- will allow Facebook users to examine material shared by their friends and use natural language search questions for information like "friends who live in my city" or "Indian restaurants liked by my friends in India," the company said in a statement on its site.

The feature has launched as a beta version, but users must put their name on a waiting list to try out the new search function, The Washington Post reported.

Searches within Facebook will allow the social media site to compete with Google and Microsoft for advertising dollars by offering advertisers a way to utilize the contextual data of "likes" that users share, analysts said.

Motley Fool analyst Andrew Tonner said that will be attractive to advertisers looking for ways to build brand engagement on Facebook.

"The social link gives you additional context," he said. "You're more likely to take some sort of action if someone you know has also had a favorable experience."

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