Monday, February 4, 2008

Social Searching: Google’s New Goal

Aside from Google’s latest advancements to help Yahoo! stay out of the grasp of Microsoft, they are also looking into providing a social search engine. The details of this quest are at ReadWrite Web.

In a recent interview with Marissa Mayer, Google's VP of Search Products & User Experience, she details how Google is looking to make your social networks influence the way your searches on the web are helped out by what your “friends” are doing on the web. As always, they are looking to protect the privacy of their users, because this is always one of the main concerns of the users. But there are four main ways Google is looking to do this: Labeling, users like you, social network integration, and socially influenced page rank.

Labeling would consist of other labeling web pages, like tags, and then they would be stored in their profiles. When the words were searched, tags would be provided by what your contacts have been searching.

With the Users like you function, Google would display what others searched for.

The Social Network Integration function would show you what your friends had been searching for in one day. Third party Social Networks such as Facebook and MySpace would eventually be brought into the picture, but for now this would just be Google’s social network.

Finally the social influenced page rank would be considered. This is set up believing that you would much more prefer to visit pages your friends visit. The more authority (or friends you have visiting the site) a site has, the more likely you are to see it in your search.

Google sees this as the future. Why not incorporate what your personal profile says about you with the results you get in your search engine? I personally don’t agree with this. I don’t want to see pages because of what my friends searched for. I want to see naturally generated searches with results on exactly what I’m looking for. I want the influence of the actual webpage and its content to tell me why it’s at the top of the webpage, not because I had three friends visit the website in one day. I think Google is overstepping privacy boundaries here. I think this is the job of web pages like, not Google. What do you feel?

No comments: