Google redefines social search

Google redefines social search

by Richard Broughton – 5th May 2011

Google’s social search functionality took a leap forward this week, as social search results are now to be mixed in with standard returns on the results page.

This means content posted from people within your networks will jostle for position on the page with more standard pages when you are signed in to your Google account, opening up marketing challenges and opportunities aplenty.

Co-workers, friends and contacts will be populating search pages more and more, which means the importance of online networking, blogging and social media in B2B marketing is potentially greater than ever.

See Google’s release explaining how it works and more on the advantages below:

An update to Google Social Search

(Cross-posted on the Social Web Blog)

Today we’re doing a little bit more to bring you all the goodness of Google, plus the opinions of the people you care about. As always, we want to help you find the most relevant answers among the billions of interconnected pages on the web. But relevance isn’t just about pages—it’s also about relationships. That’s why we introduced Google Social Search in 2009, and why we’ve made a number of improvements since then. Today we’re taking another step forward—enabling you to get even more information from the people that matter to you, whether they’re publishing on YouTube, Flickr or their own blog or website.

First, social search results will now be mixed throughout your results based on their relevance (in the past they only appeared at the bottom). This means you’ll start seeing more from people like co-workers and friends, with annotations below the results they’ve shared or created. So if you’re thinking about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and your colleague Matt has written a blog post about his own experience, then we’ll bump up that post with a note and a picture.

Second, we’ve made Social Search more comprehensive by adding notes for links people have shared on Twitter and other sites. In the past, we’d show you results people created and linked through their Google profiles. Now, if someone you’re connected to has publicly shared a link, we may show that link in your results with a clear annotation (which is visible only to you, and only when you’re signed in). For example, if you’re looking for a video of President Obama on “The Daily Show” and your friend Nundu tweeted the video, that result might show up higher in your results and you’ll see a note with a picture of Nundu.

Third, we’ve given you more control over how you connect accounts, and made connecting accounts more convenient. You can still connect accounts publicly on your Google profile, but now we’ve added a new option to connect accounts privately in your Google Account. (After all, you may not want everyone to know you’re @spongebobsuperfan on Twitter.) In addition, if our algorithms find a public account that might be yours (for example, because the usernames are the same), we may invite you to connect your accounts right on the search results page and in your Google Account settings:

For an overview of Google Social Search and our new features, check out the explanatory video:

As always, you’ll only get social search results when you choose to log in to your Google Account. We’re starting to roll out the updates today on Google.com in English only and you’ll see them appear in the coming week. With these changes, we want to help you find the most relevant information possible, personalized to your interests and the people you care about. To learn more, check out our help center.

Posted by Mike Cassidy, Product Management Director, and Matthew Kulick, Product Manager at Google