On Monday morning, Facebook announced that it is rolling out its “Graph Search,” including new pages for “Music my friends like” and more, to all users in the U.S. and beyond, over the next few weeks. Some people already have access to it, but if you don’t, there’s an easy way to get it without waiting for Facebook to add it to your account.
To use Facebook Graph Search now, go to facebook.com/about/graphsearch and click the “Try Graph Search” button:
Then, to see the music Facebook thinks you’ll like, go here.
For example, here’s my Facebook Graph Search music recommendations page (with my friends’ names blurred out), along with a link to the neat little tour Facebook includes to get you started with this:
These music recommendations are interesting, but in terms of giving me something to listen to, they don’t compare well to those of most pureplay music services.
For starters, Facebook does not appear to be suggesting music your friends have scrobbled to Facebook – just what they have Liked, with a capital “L,” as opposed to have liked in some other, non-overt way. That approach, in my case anyway, works well for recommending bands that friends of friends are actually in, bands that I have liked for years anyway, and a music festival I might like. As such, this music page just scratches the surface of what Facebook can do with music recommendations, because it sees your play activity in all sorts of places — it’s just not using those smarts here.
Also, there’s no easy way to hear the music on Facebook, because its artist pages don’t automatically link out to MOG, Rdio, Rhapsody, Spotify, Deezer, and other on-demand music services with which Facebook integrates. However, at least this gives you an easy way to see what music your friends like most of all.
More useful for music fans is Facebook Social Graph’s ability to let you hinge from a band search directly to their photos and pages made for the band. As with all Social Graph searches, this one includes an automatically-generated dropdown list of stuff you might be looking for, even if you don’t know it yet:
Here are the first few My Bloody Valentine photos from Facebook (many more are listed):
Again, the music itself is conspicuously lacking. Fixing that would require deep integration with one or more of the music services that send play data — apparently unused, here — to Facebook.
So far, the new Facebook Social Graph feature rolling out over the next few weeks starting today — or right now, if you click the button here — look like they will increase Facebook’s utility as a search engine for the people, pages, and photos related to music, and help strengthen the social fabric of the service, as people (and bands, movies, etc.) have easier ways to find each other.
If that, in turn, leads to people Liking more things, the music recommendation engine could improve, even if Facebook doesn’t start using its play data.