By the end of this month the Google social search mechanism will be completely rolled out. For those of you that don’t know what this is, let me give you the heads up. It has actually been in test phase for quite some time – the last quarter of 2009 I believe. Now, by social search I don’t mean real time results from random people on Twitter, I mean social search as in connecting you to content created by people in your social circle.
What is Your Social Circle?
Your social circle is people you are connected to through Googlemail, Twitter, people you follow in Google reader, Flickr and other social mediums. Google will now display blog posts, profiles, images and other content from members of your social circle when you conduct a search. Be aware though that you may be shown friends of your Twitter friends or slightly random people you wouldn’t expect to pop up – but this is intentional and will also be related to you in some way. The idea is to broaden your social circle and discover other people with stuff to share that you will genuinely be interested in.
To give you an example of how it works; if you were my friend and connected via twitter, gmail, etc. and you typed in ‘Search Engine Optimisation’, you might see the following:
Why Are Google Introducing Social Search?
Well, believe or not we like to follow each other, I don’t mean on Facebook I mean in reading, buying and browsing trends. For example, if I was buying a new mp3 player I would more than likely want to know what the people in my social circle thought about mp3 players and what brand of player people had been purchasing. One of my social circle may have written a “best mp3 players” blog post, and another may have recently purchased and reviewed an mp3 player on Amazon. This would surely help me to buy with more confidence, and with affiliate marketing and fake reviews making it all but impossible to source honest information, this is great news in terms of reliability. In a roundabout way Google social search is putting control back in the hands of the browser, allowing us to trust content again and operate within search boundaries. Or is it? I mean you can hardly trust friends of friends on Twitter or someone you liked on Flikr. I guess what this really means is, we now need to be extra careful who we ‘socially’ connect with.