Google Launches Social Search Experiment

    October 26, 2009

The experimental feature that Marissa Mayer announced last week is becoming available today for everyone to try.  Google Social Search promises to help users "find more relevant public content from your broader social circle."

The premise is simple: people value their acquaintances’ content more than that of random strangers.  So Google Social Search brings content from your social circle to the forefront, perhaps showing a friend’s or coworker’s take on a restaurant rather than (or in addition to) whatever the local newspaper reviewer had to say.

On the Official Google Blog, Maureen Heymans and Murali Viswanathan explained, "The way we do it is by building a social circle of your friends and contacts using the connections linked from your public Google profile, such as the people you’re following on Twitter or FriendFeed. . . .  If you use Gmail, we’ll also include your chat buddies and contacts in your friends, family, and coworkers groups.  And if you use Google Reader, we’ll include some websites from your subscriptions as part of your social search results.

This launch shouldn’t create any privacy concerns, since only public info is included in Social Search results.  The single nuisance/stumbling block relates to Google profiles, since many people don’t have one yet.

All in all, this looks like a very interesting new feature, and a lot of people are likely to join the Social Search experiment.

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