January 18, 2013 By Colin Wood
On Jan. 15, Facebook announced the addition of a new feature that could drastically change the way people use the nation's most popular social networking website.
The feature, a natural-language search tool called Graph Search, was launched as a limited beta -- not all Facebook content can be searched yet, and only a limited group of people have been accepted to try the feature.
Seen by some as a potentially big change in the social media landscape, some forward-looking government IT offices are asking how they can harness the change to help their communities and stay on the cutting edge of technology.
“The Facebook Graph Search is a different way of using Facebook,” said Brian Blau, a research director for Gartner who recently received access to the beta. “It changes your Facebook user interface. It puts search front and center.”
Currently Graph Search only allows users to search for people, places, interests and photos, but Facebook will likely expand the search to include everything on Facebook, Blau said, adding that the company will likely release an API and other tools that will allow organizations to keep better track of data.