Google have been working at improving the search experience pretty much since the start. With all the Social Media ‘gurus’ predicting Google being displaced by Twitter as the search tool of choice, and there are good justifications for such musings… what else could they do.
So Google has gotten serious about social search, but they seem to have applied the innovative breaks a bit early.
Sure, you will now see social results from your friends if you and your friends have a Google profile and have linked your other social profiles to your Google profile using the Google interface (not OAuth). But this integrated social search feature is of limited value.
Yes, you can select the “Realtime” search results in Google, which will give you the results of social searches, but that excludes other results.
Google are trying, they really are, to make search better. With all the SEO efforts it is difficult to find the results you really want without writing as full a search phrase as possible. It does look like social searching will make search better.
Social search will improve relevance.
The idea is that if the people in your social media circle are using a particular resource you are more likely to find that resource relevant. Crowd sourcing with a local twist (local to your ‘community’ without necessarily being local to you).
How does it work?
It is a Google tool. Therefore, you must be signed into your Google account for it to work.
But if you are the only one of your friends who are signed into Google you will not get much out of it.
So you need to be signed into Google and your friends, contacts need to be signed into Google.
But there is more.
If you really want to make the circle concept of social search work you, and your friends, and your friends friends, need to link your other social accounts to you Google account. This is simply done. Much easier then linking HootSuite to Twitter, for example. Google are not looking to access your other accounts in any overt way. Actually Google are only going to use the social media account names (user name) so they can scrape and create the circle of friends.
So if several things are true the Google circle could really improve your search results.
I have added several social media accounts to my Google account, so I will be contributing to the circle of others, but if my connections do not add their social media accounts to their Google account my results will be pretty much as they are today.
Let’s see how it goes.