Google Social Search Making Search Results More Personable and Raising Eyebrows

By Saturday, January 14, 2012 0 No tags Permalink

Google rolled out “Search, Plus Your World” on Tuesday, 01/11/2012 for all English-language searches. This new feature is powered by Google’s social network of ~60 million Google+ users. The search engine hopes to return more relevant and personalized results through its learnings of users’ behaviors and interests.

What this means:

  • Personal Results currently only show up when you’re logged into Google
  • Search results that are most relevant to the user will bubble to the top
  • Users’ Google+ data such as photos, comments, shares, etc. will show up in their own search results and become more relevant
  • You have the option of viewing “Personal Results” or “Global Results”, which is the original results without personalization

Concerns raised:

  • Some say that Google’s new search features raises privacy and antitrust concerns. The Electronic Privacy Information Center said that it’s considering a complaint to the FTC.
  • Personalizing search results from a user’s already familiar environment (Google+ circles, etc.) could mean potentially limiting information discovery and exploration.
  • Many users use Google as the “universal-single-source-of-truth” search engine, which will no longer be the case if different users see different search results.

What Twitter said:

Twitter claims that most of the breaking news in the recent years were first broken via Twitter, and Google’s new search implementation makes it hard for such news discoveries. “We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone,” Twitter states. “We think that’s bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users.”

Food for Thought:
Google currently cannot return photo results from Facebook or Twitter, which both house monumental amounts of user data. So far, Facebook, with a 800 million user-base, has chosen to share most its data with Bing, not with Google.


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