Facebook's steady march to make its users' lives as transparent as possible is about to take another big step forward. The social network will shortly let you search posts, comments and images across Facebook (subject to privacy settings).
The update to Facebook's Graph Search function, launched earlier this year, will let users search for status updates, photo captions, check-ins and comments. Previously, Graph Search only allowed users to search through some personal information about other users—their Likes, in particular, as well as details ranging from relationship status and employment to residential location.
Existing Graph Searches have already produced their share of embarrassment for some users, particularly those who were a little too free with the "Like" button. Now imagine all status updates, photo tags, locations and the like added to the search mix, and you have the potential for some serious shenanigans.
As with most product updates, Facebook is slowly rolling out these changes to a small group of people who currently have Graph Search, and will ask for feedback and improvements before distributing it to all users. Those included in the initial roll out will be able to start searching posts today.
Privacy Matters ... Sort Of
Privacy settings will govern what turns up in any given search—only Facebook posts someone has shared with you (or made public) will appear in search results. Users who don’t want their posts to appear publicly might want to take a pass through their privacy settings and Facebook's Activity Log to better protect what they've shared things they share.
Users can search for posts about a place or time, topics of interest, or posts they want to see again like, “My posts from last year.”
The update coincides with Facebook's push to engage TV networks and their audiences online. The search update makes it easier to surface additional information about conversations, topics and places, and will no doubt benefit marketers and companies looking to engage a broader audience.