Personalization is one of the key components of search relevancy. It’s not the only component (Google uses over 200 signals for a reason), but it’s a pretty big component. If results are tailored to you specifically, there’s a good chance they will often provide relevance to you. One of the best ways to achieve personalization through search is to get you results based on your established connections with other people. Google knows this. This is why Google is putting more emphasis on social search. They’re now rolling out an updated version of this, injecting social results into the search mix.
As I said before, there is still a gaping hole in Google’s social search feature. It doesn’t include Facebook results. This is one reason Greplin provides some advantages for some query types, but the biggest problem with Greplin is that it is separate from Google (or any other traditional search engine). With Greplin, you don’t get the web of results. You just get results from the services you use.
Wajam, solves this problem. Wajam gives you social results from Twitter and Facebook (as well as Delicious or browser bookmarks) right in your Google (or Bing or Yahoo) experience. This comes in the form of a browser extension, but once installed, you will get your social results at the top all the time. We spoke with Wajam Community Manager Alexandra Dao about it.
"Wajam lets you find content that your Facebook friends are sharing, something that is notably missing from Google Social Search," she tells WebProNews. "With Wajam you can also filter your results by friend or service so it’s easy to go back and quickly find links that you’ve already seen (ie. that link your friend tweeted a month ago). It’s like searching your personal library, populated by content you and your friends have shared online."
Results from your friends aren’t always the most relevant, so Google’s approach of mixing them in makes sense, although it remains to be seen just how well they rank compared to other content. But having them at the top in all cases via Wajam’s approach also makes them easy to skip. They’re separated from the organic results, not unlike DuckDuckGo’s "zero-click" results strategy founder Gabriel Weinberg outlined for us here.
"Wajam results also show up much more regularly than Google Social Search results, which can be sporadic," Dao tells us. "But integrating in search results is just the beginning for Wajam, we plan to help you everywhere you search online, including Facebook, Twitter, and when you’re shopping on sites like Amazon."
Greplin already offers a wide variety of services that you can search through, but Wajam intends to add more as needed. "Wajam will be adding more services moving forward, based on demand," she says. When asked about future support for Gmail, Google Reader, Google Docs, etc., she said, "These are all possibilities for services that we’ll add in the future."
Dao tells us that they’re working on iPhone and Android apps, which will be available soon. "The Android app will be especially interesting, since you’ll get your Wajam results when you search in Google or Bing, just like on the desktop version," she says.
The biggest drawback to Wajam seems to be that its results often load slowly, but you know they’re coming, because you can see them loading, and given that the results are coming from sources you are more likely to trust, they may just be worth the wait.
Wajam is currently available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and IE for PC and Mac.