Posted October 26, 2009 6:16 pm by with 9 comments

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There are two brass rings in search these days: real time and social. Google (and Bing) have been working on the real time thing with Twitter, and last week Google announced they were working on a Social Search option in Labs—and now it’s out.

With Social Search, Google finds relevant public content from your friends and contacts and highlights it for you at the bottom of your search results. When I do a simple query for [new york], Google Social Search includes my friend’s blog on the results page under the heading “Results from people in your social circle for New York.” I can also filter my results to see only content from my social circle by clicking “Show options” on the results page and clicking “Social.”

All of the info in Social Search is publicly available, but they highlight info based on their (massive data collection) information about you from:

  • Google profile contacts
  • Gmail contacts, chats and groups.
  • People you’re following on FriendFeed or Twitter
  • Feeds in your Google Reader

Matt Cutts is here to reassure us that this is perfectly okay:

Is it just me, or is it suddenly a little alarming how much information Google has about us? I’ve long maintained that my friends, as smart as they are, probably are not the best source for information, though they may be a good source for real-time or opinion-specific searches.

What do you think? Are you concerned about how much info Google has about you? Do you want your friends to provide the 1954 Mets’ stats?

  • I get a little annoyed sometimes with the results Google throws out based on what they “think” I might like, and wish that they’d do it only when I ask, but it’s their stuff that I use for free so, have at it Google.

    Currently, I don’t really care what Google knows about me, I figure they track millions of people and that my data is just used to provide me with a better experience. That said, I may care one-day (it may be too late by then!).

    As far as social search goes, 98% of the time, I’m sick of the social web and I don’t think I’ll find it too useful. I’m happy with search the way it is and would do fine with leaving it alone for a couple years. I understand that most people probably do like all the added features etc.., but not me.

    I do like that it seems to be 100% voluntary. This would probably make me choose my friends carefully.

  • Dan

    Should we not answer this in fear of bad ranking?

  • I agree — it doesn’t bother me much, at this point, what Google knows about me. -Norene
    .-= Norene´s last blog ..If You Build It, Will They Come? 10 Ways to Promote Your Blog =-.

  • wow, super cool. I cannot wait, I am excited.

  • I’ve been worried about the amount of information google holds on everyone and every company for a while.

  • I’m not keen on the amount of personal information Google holds on me. For companies, I understand and I can see how it makes sense, but I don’t want people being able to ‘Google’ me just because they’re friends with me on Twitter or a contact on Gmail.
    .-= Luci´s last blog ..WordPress Plugins for Web Designers =-.

  • Ask me about the 1954 Mets, Andy. They didn’t exist until 1962, so their stats are very easy to remember. (See, some of your friends know some answers, but don’t ask me about anything but baseball.)

  • I’m not too sure if this will be heavily used or not, it’s a little like Wikipedia, I used to use it, but over time I’ve been given so much incorrect information, I now revert back to my Encyclopaedia Britannica – I think I’ll probably do the same with social search, except I probably won’t even use it to begin with.
    .-= Marketing Recruitment´s last blog ..SEO CONSULTANT (LP) =-.

  • @Mike—you may know about the Mets, but I’m not Andy. 😉