Facebook has unveiled new search functionality that it says will take the website back to its roots, enabliing users to "browse around, learn about new people and make new connections".
The company said that ‘Graph Search’ differs from Google’s web search platform in that it allows sophisticated searches within the social network.
"Web search is designed to take a set of keywords (for example: “hip hop”) and provide the best possible results that match those keywords," Facebook wrote in a blog post.
"With Graph Search you combine phrases (for example: "my friends in New York who like Jay-Z") to get that set of people, places, photos or other content that’s been shared on Facebook.
"We believe they have very different uses," it wrote.
The company said that Graph Search engine will only retrieve information that it already publicly accessible, not private profiles.
Possible business uses include searching for individuals with particular skills sets. Business may also have to change their Facebook profiles in order to be optimised for the new search engine.
Facebook is currently rolling Graph Search out to a limited number US users.
According to Forrester Research analyst Nate Elliott, the social network giant’s phenomenal growth is slowing down, so the company must make sure it retains existing users. "Now the growth in total Facebook users has slowed significantly, this type of basic upkeep will be crucial in making the site as useful as possible for the users who are already there," Elliot yesterday.