Last week Google announced the launch of a new feature that may revolutionize the way we use search engines: it’s called Google Social Search. Earlier this month, Microsoft announced deals with social giants Facebook and Twitter but Google fired back almost immediately. The social search war is on! Google Social Search is developed by Google Labs and is still an experiment at this blog post is published but is quite likely to be part of the search engine landscape in the near future.
Google basically wants to deliver search results using your social circle as a source: with social sites like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, FriendFeed but also other types of platform like Gmail. They want your social networks to have an influence on your search results. If you join the experiment, when doing a search on Google, relevant search results from your social circle will be displayed at the bottom of the results page.
Google will know who your friends are once you have filled out your Google Profile with links to your social network profile pages. If you’re a Gmail user, Google will also look into your contacts. For now the social search results show up at the bottom of the results page but we can imagine that they will climb up as often your social circle if more relevant to you than the first search results. Would you rather read what Wikipedia says about tourism in the Fiji Islands or read a blogpost a friend of yours recently published about the holidays he spent in the region? What means more to you?
Relevancy seems to be one of the keys to Google’s success, and once again they’re on the way to provide their users with more relevant search results than ever before. For more information on Google Social Search, watch Matt Cutt’s video. Matt Cutt works for the Search Quality team at Google.
Any thoughts on this experiment? Do you think that this feature has the potential to change the way we use search engines?