Google’s Marissa Mayer talked with the Telegraph recently about her vision for Google’s future—and not surprisingly, she has an expansive vision for what information Google should index and provide to us. An “omnivorous” Google, she calls it.
Somehow, I don’t think it’s entirely accidental that she sees a Google that eats everything (rather than, say, knows everything [omniscient], considering the interpretation is apparently “one which is able to take a user’s total context – where they are, what they were just reading, which direction their mobile phone is pointed and so on”). One of the most important sources she wants to tap for better search results is social networks—and while they have already made deals with Twitter for up-to-the-minute results, she wants something a whole lot more “personalized.”
Mayer thinks the key will be when Google can include people’s friends’ personal updates from social networks such as Facebook in search and serve these results personally to the correct people. Right now Google can only include the updates and information from these networks if the users’ privacy settings are ‘public’. According to Mayer – the ideal will be to get access to your friend’s updates in search: “Understanding the social network structure and the permission rules around social networks status updates when they are not public – will really empower us in terms of search.”
That means digging behind (under?) the walls of privacy that social networks like Facebook have set up to mine your friends’ data (including status updates and events, most likely) and serve those up for what they think are your relevant searches.
I don’t know about you, but when I google [a doll's house], I’m not looking for my friend’s status updates on the gift he’s building for his daughters. If Google wants to help us find and organize information, status updates probably aren’t a good way to do it. (The Ibsen play. I’m looking for the Ibsen play.)
Interestingly, Facebook is pushing a new privacy system these days—and the default settings are set to “Everyone” for several options (easy to change, of course, but the push is still there).
All right, all right, I know I’m apparently the only person on Earth who doesn’t want to see every single friends’ crazy dream status updates when googling [dream interpretation], but will you be giving Google access to your social networks?