Beast had a birthday last week. The First Dog of social networking — live-in companion to Mark Zuckerberg and his bride, Priscilla Chan — turned two. The proud owners baked a cake for the Hungarian sheepdog and decided to throw an impromptu party. Naturally, when it came time to compile the guest list, the couple turned to Facebook, the $67 billion company that Zuckerberg founded in his dorm room nine years ago.
To date, sorting through your Facebook friends could be a frustrating task. Although the site has a search bar, there has been no easy way to quickly cull contacts based on specific criteria. But Zuckerberg was testing a major new feature that Facebook would announce on Jan. 15 — one that promises to transform its user experience, threaten its competitors, and torment privacy activists. It’s called Graph Search, and it will eventually allow a billion people to dive into the vast trove of stored information about them and their network of friends. In Zuckerberg’s case, it allowed him to type “Friends of Priscilla and me who live around Palo Alto” and promptly receive a list of potential celebrants. “We invited five people over who were obvious dog lovers,” he says.