Facebook and Micorsoft's Bing launched a new unified search feature in beta called Graph Search, that allows users to search across all their content and connections to discover new people, places, and things.
The intent is to give people the tools to map out their relationships with the people and things they care about. "There are already more than a billion people, more than 240 billion photos and more than a trillion connections," Facebook said.
With the tool, "people can search across all their content and connections on Facebook to discover new people, photos, places, and interests."
Basically, one can search for a music artist on Facebook and find Facebook content as well as search results from Bing, which include concert tickets, news about the tour, and other web results. These search results will be annotated with Facebook Likes and Shares as well. Microsoft believes this is a "powerful combination."
""Graph Search" will appear as a blue search bar at the top of each page. When you type your search, suggestions appear in a drop down. You can refine your search using the tools on the right-hand side of the pagem" Facebook said.
Further the company explains, "When you search on Facebook using the blue bar, that search not only determines the set of results you get, but also serves as a title for the page. You can edit the title - and in doing so create your own custom view of the content you and your friends have shared on Facebook."
The new search page features "a two-column layout with Bing-powered web results appearing on the left-hand side overlaid with social information from Facebook including how many people like a given result. On the right hand side, you will see content from Facebook Pages and apps that are related to your search," Bing added.
Graph Search is currently "only" available in English today and can search for only a subset of content on Facebook. "Posts and Open Graph actions (for example, song listens) are not yet available," facebook adds.
Facebook offer following tips to help those like to optimized their Page for the new search:
- "The name, category, vanity URL, and information you share in the "About" section all help people find your business and should be shared on Facebook.
- If you have a location or a local place Page, update your address to make sure you can appear as a result when someone is searching for a specific location.
- Focus on attracting the right fans to your Page and on giving your fans a reason to interact with your content on an ongoing basis."
In other Bing news, Bing Maps announced the release of Elevations API as the latest addition to the Bing Maps REST Services offerings. "The Elevations API will enable you to query for elevation information for a set of points, polyline or a region on the Earth described by latitude and longitude pairs," Bing explains.
Currently elevation information is available with the following resolutions: Global Coverage (including poles): 900m resolution (Globe), Global Coverage (56°S to 60°N):90m resolution (SRTM).US coverage: 10m resolution (NED).
The detailed documentation for this service can be found here.