Google Social Search: Part Two

Posted on in Blog

First off, I would like to clarify something that may have not been black and white in my last post. Even though Social Search was announced amongst the buzz of Twitter being integrated into Bing search results and Google’s new deal with Twitter, Social Search is NOT real time search or Twitter Search.

That being said, Social Search, to reiterate, is a new search product from Google that allows you to see results from people you are connected to through social networks. These types of results will only be returned if you have a Google profile and have configured it to recognize people within your social networks.

Google Social Search was launched in Google Labs early this week with the intent of recognizing the people you trust and making sure that you receive relevant content from them in your searches. Unfortunately, I do not have the proper set up in order to show you specific examples, but I will do my best to give you a run down of how this product works.

When you perform your first search, while logged in, you will see results from people you are connected to at the bottom of the page under a heading that is similar to this:

“Results from people in your social circle for (insert query here)”

Typically you will get their picture, an indication of how you are connected to them (via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc), as well as a snippet from the relevant content. Sometimes, but very rarely, Google will return a bit of information about the social network that you and your “friend” are connected through.

To get more results, simply click on the Results link (mentioned above) and you will be taken to a different section that is organized by category and people in your various networks. It will default to the Social Search category with a list of people in your network.

You will also have the option to reorganize your results based on the regular categories: news, blogs, videos, images, etc. If you click on a specific person from your social list, you will see how they are connected to you, usually accompanied by a photo and a snippet about the content that is relevant to your query. Results order is determined by regular Google ranking methods. Typically, the results should be in the same order as your list of “friends”. For example, if Bob Smith is the first person listed, the first result should be through a connection with Bob Smith. However, this is still new and there are some kinks to be ironed out.

In addition, due to this tool being based on your personal Google profile, there are limited privacy issues as this point.

Now, again, I don’t think I am going to run right out and sign up for a Google profile. I don’t think it will provide any additional benefit to my searching habits. Do I think this will have a big impact on search or search engine results and rankings? Not at this point. I do, however, think this is one step closer to the integration of real time search and the human element. Thoughts? Comments? Experiences you’d like to share? We’d love to know your opinion on this new Google product.

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