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Google to finally socialize search?

Google may finally be preparing to launch a user-generated search ranking system as an extension of their search product. But what if Google could also turn their search product into the biggest Social Media platform in the world?

Google logoGoogle may finally be preparing to launch a user-generated search ranking system as an extension of their search product. But what if Google could also turn their search product into the biggest Social Media platform in the world?

While I’ve been writing about this for a long time, roundly panning Google for taking so long, it’s an extremely serious deal for Google; search is the only thing they make real money from. So it’s easy to see why they’ve been working on this for so long — and they have been.

Lost under the noise of the release of Google Chrome was a gem of a story about how Google appear to be experimenting with a user-generated search ranking system:

“Google is considering allowing users of its search engine to tinker with query results by re-ranking them and commenting on them.

The company has already run public tests on its search-results pages that contain up and down arrows next to listed links, as well as buttons that allow users to append comments to results.”

Google Chrome? Search still needs a good polish!

Google’s Chrome was an inevitability. There’s been talk of a Google-flavoured browser for years, so I don’t see much cause for illation there. It was never a question of “if” and always “when” will Google release their own browser.

However, the idea of Google opening up their search to the likes of you & me? Now that is something!

Way back in late November 2007 I wrote about a previous, apparently abortive, preview of a similar socialized search effort by Google:

“You see, Google has this experiment in Social Media search. Right now, it’s not much, but it’s promising. I know, I know! I went and got my hopes up too soon before, when Google tried getting all social with links sharing, and look how far that went.”

If you look at the graphic I provided, the look is similar to this recent showing of Google’s new social search. So the chances are, this recent roll out is a more mature version of the one last seen in November of last year.

The real value of the vote for search and Social Media

I’ll leave it to my former self to expound upon the great value in votes:

“It is inevitable that trust will be the number one currency on the web. Trust is more easily given than it is bought. The more people who trust something or someone, the more value is given, which will therefore (most likely) attract more trust and amass more value. Similarly, a web page or ‘blog article that’s not up to the mark will be buried. Some might not agree, but that’s democracy for you!”

I encourage you to read my previous article. It’s got some great ideas in there, specifically how Google have the power to replicate the great work done by StumbleUpon and their browser tool bar.

Google’s Plug n Play social search

Of course, I couldn’t let this pass without a “What if?” and what better way to do this than to bridge three previous articles into the deal.

First of all, Google quite fundamentally does not understand Social Media. It’s a lost, forbidden land to them and they know this. Their plan so far? Ignore it and hope it goes away.

Don’t believe me? Go see what Marissa Mayer, Google’s very own Vice President has to say on the subject.

Secondly, the very thing that keeps Google in business stands in the headlights of the on-coming freight train that is Social Media & Social Networking:

“Instead of ‘Googling’ for something, we find stuff being sent to us as emails from friends, in our profiles, in a friends’ lists of favourites, or any number of user-generated websites, ‘blogs, RSS feeds, Social Networks and Social Media portals.

While we’re busying ourselves voting and commenting on this stuff, we’re not using Google’s search algorithm, and we’re not clicking on Sponsored Links, either.”

And thirdly, Google blinked and let their nemesis Microsoft buy into Facebook.

So what’s the solution? When you have the most comprehensive index of the web as your primary intellectual property, you use it like a cudgel to beat your competitors with, that’s what.

If we accept that the Google juggernaught faces being run aground by the vast flotilla or smaller Social Media & Social Networking vessels, their best bet is to work with them and not against them.

If you’re Google, you know what’s hot and what’s not on Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious et cetera. If you know this, you can theme your search, letting them extend your newly socialized search with a rich API that segues with their own algorithms.

Moreover, if you’re Google, you could even start a white label Social Media revolution, letting people freely build entire communities built from your ready-made, Plug n Play Social Media CMS (Content Management System).

Oh, and one last thing — AdSense comes built right in…

Recommended reading

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

1 reply on “Google to finally socialize search?”

Hi there,

I encourage you to check out Scour.com, which launched July 14th of this year. Everything Google says it’s going to do, but already being done to good acclaim.

Thanks!
Joel with Scour

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