Google Social Search And The Importance Of Your Social Network

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by Bryan McDonald on February 17, 2011

Google is updating their social search feature and putting links from your social network higher in search results.

Google Social Search was introduced in 2009 and integrated your friends publicly shared content in your search results.  With Google’s Social Search update, all of those shared links are moving higher in search results.

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. via Google

Did you catch that? Search is also about relationships.

So what does that mean?  Now when a user searches Google, he might find a blog post, tweet, or Flickr image that was shared by a friend.  These social search results will be mixed throughout the search results (before they could only be found at the bottom) based on their relevance.  You are going to see more search results from people you are connected with.

Google also says they are giving more control over how you can connect accounts.  You will be able to control the connections (friends, coworkers, etc) you see results from in your Google Accounts settings.  There will also be the option to connect accounts privately (for example, you could see search results from a Twitter account without anyone knowing it’s your account).

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How To Get Started With Google Social Search

First you need to create a profile on Google is you don’t already have one.  Set up your profile here: http://www.google.com/profiles

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Upload a photo and add some information about yourself like your name, occupation, and schools you have attended.

Next you will need to update your profile with your social network links like Twitter, your blog, and Flickr.  The image below shows I have 9 websites linked to my profile.

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Now when you search Google, you will also see things that your social network has shared publicly online.

For example, I searched Google for “Warner Robins Real Estate”.

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Two of my search results include blog posts from two local real estate agents I follow on Twitter.

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What if I search Google for “Warner Robins Appraisals”?  My search results include an article from a local real estate agent and one from A La Mode, makers of appraisal software.

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You can also view just your social network’s content by clicking on the “social” link under search results on the left hand side of Google.

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Click HERE If you can not see the embedded video above.

Google Social Search results include shared links on Twitter, Flickr, and Quora but does not include results from Facebook.  And of course you’ll only get social search results when you choose to log in to your Google Account.

Google isn’t the only one interested in your social network.

Last year Bing signed a deal with Facebook to include “Likes” in Bing results. The search engine combines both Facebook and Twitter results into the search at http://www.bing.com/social

Have you heard of Wajam? It is a browser extension that allows you to see links from your social networks (Facebook, Twitter, and Delicious) in your favorite search engine (Google, Bing, or Yahoo).  You can request to try the extension on their website.

Bottom Line

You can see how social search and your network impacts all of your searches and why it is more important that ever to grow your social network.  Now your friend’s and contact’s blog posts, tweets, and other social content play prominently into what you see when searching.

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