After Bing teamed up with Facebook to spruce up its search engine features, Google has geared up to boost its search engine as well, with some new social search features. The search engine announced its plans of making social search available to users outside the U.S, in 19 languages, in the coming week.
“In 2009 we first introduced Social Search on google.com as an experimental feature designed to help you find more relevant information from your friends and the people you care about. Since then we’ve been making steady improvements to connect you with more people and more relevant web results. Today, we’re bringing Social Search to more users around the globe,” Google stated in its blog yesterday.
Both Google and Bing’s social search services display search results based on the popularity of the links in the user’s social media circle. So, links that are shared by your friends on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and blogs will be considered more relevant over others, and would therefore show up on your search results page. The suggestions and tips that you get from your social media friends on the search query, make the results more reliable, and also help you find the best person to approach, to discuss the matter, further. So, if you are looking for some information on “Must-visit places in Singapore”, and one of your friends has recently visited the place and written a comprehensive blog post about his experience in Singapore, you will see your friend’s post in your results. Often, the answers we are looking for is just around the corner, and this social search feature brings out the answers that your contacts might have for your queries.
To access Google’s Social Search, users have to be logged into their Google account, and link the account to the social media services from Google, and other providers that they want Google to consider, while providing answers to their queries. Google will then display the results, taking into consideration your contacts on Google talk, Gmail, the people you’re connected to on Google Reader and Buzz, and the social networks you’ve linked from your Google Account. Your personal Google Dashboard gives you the complete list of people included in your social search results.
For more information on using Google Social Search, check out this video by Google on YouTube.
Though Google Social Search may refine its search results using new features, it finds itself at a disadvantage when compared to search engines like Bing. Due to the tight partnership between Facebook and Microsoft, Bing will have deeper access to Facebook data than Google, and will be more efficient in tapping into social media, while pulling out search results.