One week ago, I received a Facebook message from my friend David. “SUPER random question, but do you know a girl from Michigan whose name is Lauren and lives in Boston?” he asked. “Apparently she is your friend and Jenna’s friend on Facebook.” I hadn’t spoken to David in years, so I was a little confused. “I was using Tinder (a new dating app) for the first time today,” he wrote, “and Lauren was the one person I decided to look up since we had 30 mutual friends and shared 30 interests. I guess we'll never know.” I was at work, and not in the mood to pore through the 20 Laurens in my friends list to help David find the right girl. Then I remembered I had been given access to Facebook’s new search product, Graph Search, which is built to answer such questions. I opened Facebook and typed into the search bar, “Friends of mine named Lauren who are also friends with Jenna and live in Boston.” Facebook returned one result. Bingo.

I have no idea how or if David tried to set up a date with Lauren, but even in "early beta" Graph Search had certainly proved its mettle at finding people. It felt like using Google for the first time, seeing tons of data scraped through in mere seconds. All of the information you have ever provided about yourself has been indexed and cross-referenced, accessible with a few keystrokes.

Facebook launched Graph Search at a big press event at its Menlo Park, CA headquarters almost exactly one month ago. CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivered a large part of the event keynote himself, highlighting the feature as one of three “pillars of Facebook” alongside the News Feed and Timeline. Graph Search is supposed to help you gather friends for a Twin Peaks marathon, find photos taken in London on your last trip, and see which sushi places are most popular among your friends. After a month of testing Graph Search, I’ve found that it’s fantastic at finding people and photos, but not so good at finding anything else. And it’s for one simple reason.