Google's social search experiment

Thu 22 October 2009 14:15, Bas van den Beld

Google's social search experiment

It was the news that both Bing and Google made a deal with Twitter that made the first headlines, but in the same announcement at the Web 2.0 Summit Marissa Mayer also announced a very interesting experiment.

In the coming weeks Google will be launching a social search experiment. The experiment will be done through Google Labs and could very well end up to be a much bigger thing than the Twitter deals.

To join the experiment you will need a Google account and a Google Profile. Information from different social media accounts will then be included at the bottom of the search results.

Anyone in your network who has commented about your search query will then have their comments added to your search results. That would for example mean that if you look for a specific service a tweet, Facebook-post or other social  from one of your friends could appear in your search results.

"We've been thinking about social networks for a long time, Social Search recognizes a fundamental need for real-time information and demonstrates Google's commitment to innovating in search." said Mayer.

"What we've done here is inserted, on the bottom of the page, content written by people in your social network," Mayer added, she also said Google hopes this will "really improve the overall relevance, comprehensiveness, and quality" of search results, according to Cnet.

She demonstrated during the Web 2.0 summit how this could work. In a search she did for "New Zealand" results were returned which was a in to a GMail message and a Friendfeed entry from two of her friends.

The project will be launched as an opt-in, which is a very important detail. Opt out would mean after all that your friends immediately would start seeing your content popping up in their search results. And probably people will have to get used to the idea of having friends' content showing up in their search results. This does mean that you will probably be thinking a little bit more about what you post on the web.

If the experiment succeeds this can mean a big step for search. Ranking will then be based much more on social elements than on the 'regular' SEO-elements. It will become much more important to have friends to get your pages up in the search results.

  • Comments (3)
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Comments (3)


  • There was a meme going around for a bit on Social Media Optimization. Basically people were trying to figure out the SEO equivalent in the social space. The discussion lost steam as people realized that there was not the same depth of technique nor the value as SEO. With the emergence of social search, I could see the discussion of a practice designed to optimize social search regain strength.

    Do 22 okt 2009, 14:57

    • Andrew

    The employees at Google are now busy drilling holes in the hull below the waterline. Have you seen their "experiments" with the Google home page since the beginning of October? They're thoroughly annoying longtime users by removing the Search button, removing the top menu and fooling around with fade-in effects that take several seconds to complete on some systems. What's more, they're dishing up different combinations of these weird effects, depending on one's browser and operating system. If you have a browser with a User Agent Switcher feature that can spoof various other browsers and operating systems, you can see it for yourself.

    Za 24 okt 2009, 03:00


    Za 12 nov 2016, 15:56


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