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Facebook unveils search, shares plummet

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International News | Thursday January 17 2013 11:15

Facebook unveils search, shares plummet

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It wasn't a Facebook smartphone, but the social networking site's billionaire chief Mark Zuckerberg was pretty happy with his latest invention.

At a much hyped press conference at Facebook's headquarters at Menlo Park, south of San Francisco, Zuckerberg unveiled a new Facebook search tool, Graph Search.

"This is just some really neat stuff," Zuckerberg said during his one hour demonstration and question and answer session.

"This is one of the coolest things we have done for a while."

Wall Street didn't agree, dumping the company's stock.

Before Zuckerberg announced Graph Search, Facebook's stock was up 24 cents on Nasdaq, but shortly after he finished speaking it had dived to be $30.11, 84 cents lower from the opening.

The fall also came after media monitoring company SocialBakers released data showing the number of Facebook users in America fell by nearly 1.4 million in early December.

Graph Search lets Facebook's one billion users search the social networking site's content with specific queries. "Graph search is not web search," Zuckerberg told the 200 or so media members.

"We are not indexing the web."

Graph Search users can search people, photos, places and other Facebook content.

If you type in "Friends who like Star Wars and Harry Potter" it will come up with a list of people who like both film franchises.

Or if you have a friend in Melbourne who is single and you want to find a suitable guy for her to date you type: "Friends of friends who are single men in Melbourne".

Or if you are after an Indian restaurant you type: "Indian restaurants liked by my friends".

The tool will be rolled out on Wednesday AEDT, but Zuckerberg stressed Graph Search was still in its early stages.

Facebook will be protected by privacy tools, so any content a Facebook user does not want other users to access will not come up in Graph Search.

In recent days there was plenty of speculation about what Zuckerberg would unveil after Facebook sent out an invite to the media that read: "Come see what we're building".

Some analysts were tipping Facebook would launch a smartphone, but it was not to be.

Photo: Getty Images

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