Facebook has demonstrated a new smart search engine (Graph Search) which may eventually challenge LinkedIn as the dominant network used by recruiters and job hunters to establish professional connections.
The social media site has long been criticised for failing to live up to its Mission Statement to “make the world more open and connected” due to its limited and ineffective search options.
A search for friends with common names such as ‘James Smith’ often ends in frustration and failure; looking for a pal with such a name currently brings up hundreds of people, mostly in the USA.
Graph Search was showcased by Facebook last week and promises users they will one day be able to make ‘natural’ searches, including more details such as ‘friends who work in PR and live in Manchester’.
People who use Facebook for social purposes have cautiously welcomed the news as it will make finding old and new friends easier and the website promises that privacy concerns have been addressed – a major area of criticism for the California based company.
Facebook developer Tom Stocky suggested that the new technology could be used for recruitment purposes saying that Graph Search could find people who fit criteria for certain jobs – as well as those with mutual connections.
Mark Little, principal analyst at research firm Ovum, told the BBC: “I think it’s going to help drive connections within the network between individuals and between companies and pages.”
It will be some time before we know whether this new tool will be of help to UK recruiters or not. Graph Search is currently undergoing beta tests in the USA and will roll out very slowly.
Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said: “We’re going to put an encouragement on the home screen of everyone’s account so that everyone has the chance to look through these tools.
“There’s a very long list of things that we didn’t do for version one. We have years and years of work ahead of us.”
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