Let's just say that Facebook has 1 billion MAUs. Yes, they announced that milestone a little while back so they most definitely have a few more than that, but for the purposes of this calculation just indulge me. Ok, 1 billion active users.
In a blog post today, Facebook says that hundreds of thousands of people are currently using the beta of Graph Search, Facebook's new in-site search product that the company unveiled in the middle of January.
So, hundreds of thousands - no more specific that that. That could mean 200,000 or 900,000. Since we know that about 100,000 were given Graph Search at the onset - well that tells us nothing really. We don't know exactly how fast Facebook is rolling it out. But I think we're safe in saying that the current number of Graph Search users is probably closer to 200,000 than 900,000.
But even if we go for the highest possible number, that still means that only 0.09% of Facebook users have been given Graph Search.
Facebook said that the rollout would be slow. Very slow. So you really shouldn't be surprised if you haven't been called up to participate in the beta quite yet. But Facebook is pushing the new feature pretty hard considering a microscopic portion of the Facebook population even knows what the hell they're talking about.
Today, the company shared some of its favorite searches from the roughly 6 weeks that Graph Search has existed. Not the most popular, mind you. Just some of the favorites.
Facebook says that people are using Graph Search to find out stuff about their friends, as such:
And people are using it to find photos, like this:
Facebook also highlights Graph Searches related to trip planning like "Ski resorts my friends have visited," and interest discovery searches like "TV shows liked by my friends."
Strangely, they don't get into any of the more adventurous ways that people are using the new product. I know, there are just too many lingering privacy concerns for that sort of tomfoolery. Although, Facebook has attempted to mitigate those worries by taking steps to protect minors when it comes to creepy old dudes searching for their info on Graph Search.
But what Facebook is highlighting is beside the point. It's why - considering that pretty much nobody has Graph Search right now.
I haven't found myself using Graph Search all that much (yes, I have it), except in researching stories and/or the occasional oddity query. I was helped by its cross-matching abilities once, with a "people who are friends with both me and John Smith." That particular search helped me remember the name of a person I talked to a bar one night then drunkenly forgot their name. So that was cool. Graph Search has its uses, and some kinks. But that's to be expected, as it's a beta.
Plus, I'm just one guy with one experience. Sure, writing about Facebook all the time means that I'm probably more likely to use Graph Search than the average person (at least right now). But even still, it's really really early in the game to try and pick a winner or a loser.
But with all this promotion to a very limited subset of users, is Facebook just trying to create buzz? Are they not seeing the early adoption they were looking for? Are they trying to kickstart usage for a project that went too far off the rails of what most Facebook users really care about (the news feed, photos, the news feed, photos, and the news feed)?
Anyway, it'll be nice to hear from Facebook on how users are taking advantage of Graph Search when more than 0.02% have had the chance to look at it.