Google Gets Social - Social Search Will Change The Way Users Explore and Evaluate Online

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February 23, 2011

Google Gets Social - Social Search Will Change The Way Users Explore and Evaluate Online

Our Digital Scientists are made up of tech-loving, results-oriented, passionate, digital marketing nerds who have an unnatural obsession with all things digital. Most likely seen glued to a screen and spewing new digital marketing trends.

How users search online is a constantly evolving process. Its changes and adapts to the needs and trends of its users in an attempt to always be relevant. Google certainly leads the way in innovation and creativity here and has frequently rolled out many features that have got people talking and businesses rethinking their strategies. The most recent development in the search game is a push towards a more social and personalized experience. While Google's social search has been floating around in beta for a while now, Google has officially made the leap to bring this exciting, new feature to the public.

Image via The Lone Wolf Librarian

How Is Search Evolving Today there are many different places online where people come together to make social connections and publish web content like blogs, status updates, tweets, and pictures. So we ask, why not offer the same experience though search engines? People already choose to publish much of this content publicly where anyone can come and view it; and people come to read this content because they enjoy it and find it important. Google understands this and has developed a system that pulls in unique content, personal to each user, from their social circle to create a search experience filled with information from the people they already know and trust.

What is New About Google's Social Search Google's social search helps users find the relevant and trustworthy content they are looking for faster. Google takes regular web index data and uses algorithms to determine when social results will improve information. From there it integrates social information from the people you already follow to provide a more valuable experience. Social results show up at the bottom of the page, but only when you are signed into Google. If you want to see more results from your social connections, click More Search Tools or Show Search Tools on the left panel of the search results page and select Social to filter your results.

Google gathers information not only from your social circle, but also your extended social circle, friends of friends. It searches social content primarily from your public Google profile (and the social sites linked to it), but also from your Google Chat and Google Reader. To control where Google pulls its information from, add or delete links on your Google profile. When adding new links, it may take up to a day or so for your social search results to reflect the new contacts and content. Additionally, you can add or block specific individuals.


How Will This Change How People Are Searching The new Google social search will provide users a platform that is much more meaningful and valuable. Having personalized results from the people you know and trust will create a search experience that is much more relevant. This is one more giant step towards a fully personalized online experience. Social search results may hold more weight when making a decision on what to buy, where to eat, or just about anything.

Here are some of the types of social content you might see: • Websites, blogs, and other content that's shared by or created by your friends • Images that are shared by your social connections • Relevant articles from your Google Reader subscriptions • Profiles of people you know beneath results for social sites like Twitter and Flickr

Conclusion Google's social search can certainly help you find what you're looking for faster and offer results that are more relevant. I expect it to change the way search is viewed forever. While this feature has been in testing for a while, it is now being widely released to more users. Expect to begin seeing this feature at the bottom of your searches more frequently in the near future.

As always, Google is out to make The Internet and the way users interact with it faster, simpler, and more valuable, and I have to say, Google's social search is certainly all of those things. Don't blink or you just might miss what Google has in store next! We're all tingling with anticipation! Let us know what you think about social search in the comments below.

Image via The Proverbial Lone Wolf Librarian's Weblog

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