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What Did Facebook Announce at Its Mystery Press Event? And How It Might Impact Your Privacy


"We think this is a powerful combination."

Facebook last week teased a press event with "come see what we're building." It was speculated (not for the first time either) that the social media giant was going to unveil a phone. Guess what: it didn't.

Instead, Facebook announced a new search feature that might give Google some competition -- and might have people confirming their privacy settings yet again.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. , Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. (Photo: AP/Jeff Chiu)

All Facebook, the unofficial Facebook blog, reported that "Graph Search" simplifies how users find photos of friends, what friends have liked and more:

For instance, users can search for photos of their friends by location, whether it’s specific (AT&T Park) or general (at a theme park). Users can also search for friends-of-friends based on location, education, relationship status, and several other filters.

People can also discover music, movies, TV shows and other interests based on what their friends like. If you type in something generic such as “Shows my friends like,” graph search will return with a bevy of results — but not just links to the shows’ Facebook pages, but of clips too. There are several filters that users can take advantage of, such as friends in California who went to U.C. Berkeley and like sushi.

If this calls to mind some privacy concerns, watch this video from Facebook discussing how privacy works in Graph Search:

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the new feature would be rolled out as a beta test slowly to gauge community interest. Some users might see availability as early as Tuesday.

If what you're searching for on Facebook isn't applicable to Graph Search, Microsoft said in a blog post (via Tech Crunch) that users will see Web search results from Bing.

"Imagine searching for Jay-Z concerts on Facebook, and not only finding Facebook content, but also web results from Bing including concert tickets, news about the tour and other web results—annotated with Facebook Likes and Shares," Derrick Connell, corporate vice president of search for Bing, wrote. "We think this is a powerful combination."

As for those who thought the announcement would be a phone, Zuckerberg said last fall when rumors were going that direction that he thought it was "so clearly the wrong strategy for us."

If you're interested in signing up for the beta test of Graph Search, learn more here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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