Google Turns Your Friends Into Sitelinks for Some Queries
Google has added social sitelinks to some search results. This means that for some social-related queries, you may see results for your own personal social connections as sitelinks underneath the main result.
"Usually when you search for a social site like Twitter or MySpace, you’re looking for information from your friends and social network, like their tweets and profile pages," says Google Director of Product Management Mike Cassidy, Director of Product Management. "A social sitelink includes your friend’s name and profile photo, and it links to her content on a particular website. Social sitelinks are based on the same technology as Google Social Search; we use your social circle to identify relevant websites and user pages."
Google launched Social Search early this year as "the first step in an ongoing effort to make Gogle search as social as as the web itself." What it does is simply surface public web content from your social connections. You’ve probably seen results produced from it show up in results many times over the last year (if you use Google while signed in).
"To see social sitelinks in action, try a search for [twitter] or [youtube]," says Cassidy. "If you’re not seeing social sitelinks, try creating a Google profile and adding links in your profile to other online social sites you belong to so we can build your social circle."
If these sitelinks only show up when the user searches for the social network itself, I’m not sure what the advantage is over simply finding your friends on the network itself, but it is one more way to bring social to search, I suppose. The major search engines are doing everything they can to make search more social, and there’s nothing wrong with that, because social can add a helpful layer of relevancy to the search process.
In fact, Google is in the process of adding a social layer to many of its products as it looks for a way to tap into users’ social relationships the way Facebook has been able to do. Connecting people with their friends anywhere possible can only add to this goal.
While this particular move by Google doesn’t appear to be incredibly significant, it’s just part of Google’s whole strategy to keep your friends close by.