Facebook debuts Graph Search service

On the topic of privacy, he said the firm has taken steps to ensure that only data users have made public will be available for people to view through Graph Search.

The company has tried to make it easier for users to review exactly what content is publicly available about them, through the privacy measures it introduced at the end of last year.

Zuckerberg added that, before the service is rolled out to all users, members will see a prompt on the Facebook home page, encouraging them to review the information Graph Search may throw up about them.

These allow users to bulk un-tag embarrassing photos or posts or lock down other types of data they'd rather other people couldn't see.

Lars Rasmussen, director of product development at Facebook, explained: "You can only search for content that people have shared with you.

"You can only see the content you could already see on Facebook before," he added.

The company was unable to give a firm date as to when the service will be rolled out to all users, mainly because of the sheer amount of user data it has to wade through first.

"There's more than one billion people on this with 240 billion photos and trillions of connections," explained Zuckerberg.

The hype surrounding the announcement has caused Facebook's share price to rocket passed the $31 per share mark in recent days for the first time since July.

To put that into context, shares in the company hit a high of $45 in the wake of its controversial IPO in May 2012.

This was on the back of reports the firm might be planning to launch a Facebook-branded smartphone or announce an overhaul of its mobile platforms.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.