Google Social Search

Google’s Latest Experiment: Social Search

Matt Cutts Video: How Google Social Search Works

The more you become engaged in the online world, the bigger your social network is likely to get. The bigger it gets, the more difficult it can be to manage. Google is experimenting with an exciting new way to help keep track of what’s happening in your social network via its search engine service. The entirely voluntary opt-in program is called Google Social Search. The Social Search function helps you find Web content that people in your online social network – and extended network – have made publicly available on the Internet.

If your friends – or friends of your friends – post content on the Web, and if Google’s algorithms determine that their content is relevant to your search, it will appear at the bottom of your search results page. The Social Search tool pulls this information from three sources: your public Google profile, your Google chat buddies and your Google Reader feeds. When you set up a public profile on Google, you may choose to include links to your blog, blogs that you follow, and your social networking sites such as Twitter and FriendFeed. If you are signed into Google and perform a search, Google’s Social Search pulls information from these links.

If a recent post on a blog in your Google Reader relates to the search topic, that post will appear in your search results. If someone you’re following on Twitter has tweeted something relevant to the search topic, this too will appear in your results. You’ll also find pictures, status updates and any other content that your friends have chosen to make publicly available on the Internet. If you have buddies on Google’s chat service and they have posted content on the Web, this information will also appear if it is relevant to your search. The Social Search will not be performed unless you are signed into Google. All of the information gleaned is information that people in your network have chosen to make public. It’s information anyone could find – but with Social Search, you don’t have to log into your various accounts and look for the information yourself. It’s right there in your search results.

You maintain complete control over what information Google pulls in your results. If you delete the link to your Twitter account from your Google profile, for example, your friends’ and their friends’ tweets will no longer be visible when you perform searches. If you block a buddy in Google Chat, that person’s content will no longer be searched. And if you are not signed into Google, there will be no Social Search results at all. The bigger your social network is, the more difficult it becomes to keep track of what’s happening within it. The Social Search function helps you make the most of your social network by quickly pulling together content you might otherwise have to spend hours surfing the Web to find.



Social Search Demonstration:

Dan Petrovic, the managing director of DEJAN, is Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimisation. Dan is a web author, innovator and a highly regarded search industry event speaker.

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