We've all been there: It's a Tuesday morning and you've got a hankering for some trail running. But your wilderness survival class taught you never to trail run alone. What do you do? With Facebook's new search engine, you can instantly use your computer to search for anyone on earth who likes trail running. (You can also find other things. But why would you want to?)
Since the beginning of time, humans have wanted to find other humans to go trail running with them. But they were mostly SOL. The only way to find a trail running companion was to physically hike onto a trail, trip someone who was running on it with a tripwire, kidnap them, tie them up in your basement and blast AC/DC at them 24/7 from massive speakers until they got disoriented enough to agree to go trail running with you.
Facebook's new graph search, unveiled today before hundreds of tech reporters at their Menlo Park headquarters, aims to change all this. Be sure to check out the video to the left. (Menlo Park is, of course, known for its trail running.) Graph search mines Facebook's massive database of interests, people, photos and places, and replaces the old busted search function of Facebook which was pretty much useless if you were looking for someone to traipse along a rugged wilderness path. In fact, I just typed "trail running" into Facebook's old search bar and it brought me to a generic page that explained "Trail running is a sport which consists of running and hiking over trails." No crap, sherlock—this is why it's awesome.
You can use graph search in four main areas of Facebook, according to CNN: People, photos, places and interests. Here are just a few of the questions Facebook graph search can answer
- Which of my friends who live in my area like trail running?
- Can you find pictures of me trail running in 2010?
- What restaurants do people who like trail running also like?
- Are there any people on earth named T. Rail Running? Because that would be hilarious.
There are some sensitive privacy issues, of course. Luckily Facebook Graph Search is "privacy-aware" which means if you haven't come out to your friends and family as an avid trail runner, your status won't show up in Graph Searches. With Facebook Graph Search, the age-old dream of all of humanity networked together into a giant global brain, operating giant global legs, running along the trail of the Universe to a tripped-out soundtrack of Sigur Ros, is that much closer.