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Nineteen months after it debuted the feature in North America, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) this week is finally bringing to other countries Social Search, the product that must rival Facebook’s own take on the social search opportunity.
Good timing – only this Monday, Bing began injecting Facebook’s social graph in to search results for its users.
Google Social Search is built atop Google Profiles, which, if users have populated with account details from other websites, builds a wide-ranging picture of members’ friends and contacts from across multiple member sites. Google can even guess some of users’ off-site memberships without being instructed, and it also includes results from Contacts.
With this index underneath, Google Search can inject in to its results the social sharing habits of users’ friends from across a variety of networks.
Right now, this is the hottest challenge in search. Some observers say that social networks like Facebook may end up as better search engines than search engines themselves. That’s probably over-egging it (my friends only know so much) – but injecting friends in to search may indeed help bring added value to search itself.
Social Search has been another product which Google has effectively beta-tested in the world’s largest market, the States. +1, Voice and Music Beta are amongst those also unavailable elsewhere.