After the profile and then Timeline, Facebook has announced its latest innovation: Graph Search, a project born way back in early 2011, represents the third major change which we experience Facebook’s version of the web. We knew this was bound to happen: since it started, the social network has lacked a sturdy search function, a way to take full advantage of Social Graph.
Remember that hot chick you met at the hotel party who makes pottery and lives in Manhattan? Now with Facebook’s coveted Graph Search, users can search for Friday night dates, music recommendations or job opportunities from personal network(s). Some say Google should be worried. Others aren’t as impressed with these search functions. The tool is still in beta, but there’s no shortage of opinions on how this social search can be used and whether it will catch on.
How Does It Work?
Facebook’s search tool is based on two parts. The first is a natural-language processor and the second is an internal-retrieval tool. And, according to Graph Search developer Lars Rasmussen, one of the key components to launching Graph Search out of beta will be the ability to index all of the posts and comments people have shared on Facebook.
Have you ever gotten immersed in a game on Facebook and then been left in the cold because the people you play with simply aren’t as committed to the game as you are? For this reason, among others, Facebook is working to improve the gaming experience for users.
The groups feature has been a part of the Facebook infrastructure for years. The decision to harness it and adapt it to improve gaming via Facebook was announced on the Facebook developer blog in mid-November. Developer Shireesh Asthana posted the update which let developers know that “apps and games can now create and manage Groups…to help people connect and share their experiences.” Previously, only users could create groups around their games.
Facebook creator Mark Zuckerburg was quoted by technology blog Techcrunch.com as saying “Gaming on Facebook isn’t doing as well as I’d like.” The article, published in late October, noted that the gaming portion of Facebook doesn’t translate well to the mobile platform. Feature and smartphone users have a tendency to play their online games via download, in a dedicated application rather than an extension of the Facebook application.
Facebook privacy settings are great. Just a few minutes of tweaking allows you to create complex rules that makes sharing on Facebook easy AND safe.
Or so we thought.
I’ll start by prefacing this with two recent developments. The first is that Facebook is now one of Americas most trusted companies, and the second that around 65 million users are now accessing Facebook from mobile devices. It’s these two factors that make the following so concerning.
Have a look at the privacy settings below:
These settings allow friends to see wall posts with the exception of the “Employees” group. This group has specifically been removed rights to see wall posts. Or so the setting says…
This setting is does not work correctly and does NOT work at hiding any wall posts made from Facebook mobile (including the Facebook iPhone app). This bug is a massive privacy concern.
A friend of the above account in the “Employees” group could not only see wall posts from mobile devices, but also post to the wall, clearly against the privacy settings that were in effect. Wall posts from non-mobile devices were not visible.
The following screenshot shows a wall viewed from an account which has been added to the ‘Employees’ group with the privacy settings as above.
We have no way of proving we haven’t ‘shopped the screenshots above but feel free to try the settings with a friend to prove it to yourself. We also hope the previous hole we uncovered should give some credibility to our claims.
So there you have it. If you have your boss hidden from seeing wall posts, you’d better stop your friends posting on your wall from their phones…
On a side note, the privacy setting does work for status updates made from mobile devices. For concerns about your social networking posts showing up on search engine results, you may want to look into a service like Reputation.com which can help clean up your personal image
Facebook have recently added a new easter egg in Facebook Chat with a brand new penguin emoticon:
You can use this emoticon with the following combination: <(“)
We’re unsure of the reason for penguin love at Facebook, but they also had an unbranded free penguin gift back in July.
For more, check out our full guide of Facebook Chat features.