Dating Facebook to play Cupid

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Facebook To Play Cupid

Fed up with online dating? Why not turn to Facebook to meet a potential mate. Whilst people have been using the online social network to connect with friends for the past — years, Facebook has now upped the ante when it comes to playing cupid with the launch of its new feature – Graph Search. With your interests and relationship status now only a mouse click away, Graph Search lets you search your friends’ friends, opening up a whole new dating market. Currently in its beta release, Graph Search is designed to let you find out what other people ‘like’ – be it Bridget Jone’s Diary, a book about cats or an old episode of Friends.

‘The new feature will initially let users sort through mainly photographs, people, places and member’s interests,’ explains Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.

The new feature gives you a chance to connect with people you may not have met, but who also have similar interests to you – something that’s key when it comes to establishing a long-lasting love connection. In the case of finding compatible matches, you can use search terms such as ‘single males who live in (insert your city here)’. The result? A nice long list of single males that live nearby. If you want to be more specific you can even search for shared interests. Love surfing? Then why not try ‘single males who live in (insert your city here) and like surfing.’

So, is this an exciting new feature, or just plain creepy? One concern is that Graph Search could lead to both men and women receiving unwanted advances and notes from people they just aren’t interested in – not everyone, remember, chooses to change their status to ‘In a relationship’. However, a new privacy ‘short-cut’ in the top right-hand corner of the website provides quick access to the controls you need to manage who can contact you.

There’s also talk that Graph Search poses a threat to Google, despite Zuckerberg, insisting that ‘the new feature is not Web search.’

Facebook's new Graph Search tool

But what about dating sites such as eHarmony and Match.com? Nate Elliot, an analyst who covers Facebook and social marketing, doesn’t believe it’s a threat. ‘It’s a different use case than the online dating sites,’ he says. ‘When someone is on an online dating site you can be pretty sure that they are looking for a date. When somebody lists themselves as single on a social network you can’t be so sure.’

Ultimately, Graph Search, when paired with Facebook’s Messenger and Poke apps, will now provide what amounts to a basket of dating tools. So why not log on and try out the new feature now? You may discover that your hunk of a neighbour (you know, the one you’ve been crushing on for, like, the last five months) secretly likes Bridget Jone’s Diary and has three cats. Creepy or not, if you’re looking for that special someone, Graph Search just could be your cupid.

Have you used Facebook to find a date? What do you think of the new feature? Use the comments box below to tell us what you think.

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