Shortly after Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, announced it would integrate Twitter and Facebook in their search results Google is following this up with social search. Google describes it as follows:
“Google Social Search is an experimental feature that enables you to find relevant public web content from people in your social circle, when you’re signed in to your Google Account. For example, search for [ restaurants ], and restaurant reviews by your friends and other contacts may appear more prominently in your results”
Social search takes your search and looks for content that people in your social network have written about the subject you’re looking for. The goal is to improve the relevance of the search results by serving up results from these trusted sources. The search results show in highlights at the bottom of the page or you can select to see only social search results. The integration of Social search and partnerships with Twitter and Facebook point to a recognition that these new sources are more immediate than regular results. It also provides people a more trusted way to base their decission making on. By taking advice from a trusted source within a network the information takes on a new relevance.
This is what Google says:
“All the information that appears as part of Google Social Search is published publicly on the web — you can find it without Social Search if you really want to. What we’ve done is surface that content together in one single place to make your results more relevant.”
You can join the test of this new functionality here and here’s two video’s describing the new tool: