The socialization of search moves forward at a rapid pace. Google has aligned itself with Twitter; and Facebook with Bing, in medieval times you might say the battle lines have been drawn. The rationale behind this “fight” is that the average searcher wants their results to reflect what their friends and contacts found relevant and useful. Therefore a search combined with a social function is critical. Twitter and some of their viral business successes prove that we can all be capable of latching on to the same whim or fancy as other people. When you think about the success of business networking and how referrals are such a huge new customer resource for most local business it’s an obvious benefit. Online reviews are critical for business success and so it all makes sense. Whether we want every result we ever receive from an online search tainted with our acquaintances views remains to be seen. We will all see as it evolves. For now though it makes perfect sense, so where is search?
Social search is now part of the Google Algorithm. To benefit from social search, currently you need to be logged into your Google account. When you are, you will see search results that are impacted by your friends and online contacts. The content you might see will include web information they have shared and blogs they have created. You might also see images they have shared and find the profiles of people you know from Twitter below the results. The +1 button is also an extension; meaning you will also see results which have been recommended by people in your social circle. For now all of this is only available if you are signed into Google. This seems to signal the launch of Google Me (the proposed Google social network platform) shortly.
Facebook Open Graph
Open graph is Facebook’s foray into search first announced in 2010 and now rolling out. They stopped development of the “share” button and focussed on the “like”. The “like” button will – Post to a users news feed that they ‘Like’ specific content along with a link back to the content. Also allows sites to push updates to those users who have ‘Liked’ their content. Posts to a users news feed that they ‘Like’ specific content along with a link back to the content which has been liked. This allows sites to push updates to users who have ‘Liked’ their content. Open graph allows Facebook “likes” to be part of the search index and not just for Bing. Likes are starting to gain momentum on traditional link-back algorithms as a search ranking strategy. “Likes” maybe more important than links within a couple of years.
Business and Social Media
There is probably not a business owner or CEO out their who has not been confronted with a question regarding whether her business should utilize Social Media as part of their branding and marketing campaigns. For those who have still to leave the fence; now would seem to be the time.