Remember Google’s Social Search? Google’s attempt to inject a ‘social’ element to its search results? As interesting as the idea sounded on paper, when it was announced around October 2009, it really hasn’t added much value to my Google searches – Not Yet anyway. Of course, richness of these results depend on your Google Social Profile, and because such few people have/use Google Profiles it probably hasn’t quite delivered what it promised. If it could use Data from Facebook, it may have been a different story. Be that as it may, Google has announced some updates to its Social Search.
Firstly, these will now appear along with regular search results, along with an annotation below it telling you who shared or created it. Earlier, social results would appear separately at the bottom of the page.
The second change is the vital one. Social Search results will no longer be limited to Google profiles. It now includes links a person has shared publicly from their twitter and other accounts – depending on what is configured with their Google Profiles. So if you search for something, a friend may have shared publicly through twitter, the search results will tell you that. With these feature, Social Search finally has a real chance.
The third tweak lets you now privately link accounts to your Google profile. And if Google determines a public account that might be yours, it may ask you to link them. A little creepy – but that’s just my opinion.
Bing Bar With Facebook Integration
On the other side of the Social Search spectrum (if there is such a thing). Microsoft released a new Bing Toolbar that is deeply integrated with Facebook. Now that isn’t really surprising given the relationship Facebook and Microsoft have. It also integrates with email accounts – Hotmail, Yahoo Mail and Gmail.
It is Windows and IE only as of now, so I haven’t been able to try it myself. But the Facebook integration displays notifications for messages, status updates etc. It also lets you access your News Feed, and lets you like/comment without leaving the toolbar. Apart from this it will also include email alerts with a summary. News, Weather updates, maps will be a part of the package too. It requires you have Windows 7, Visa or XP Service Pack 3 and at least Internet Explorer 7. SearchEngineLand said it looked more like a Dashboard than a toolbar, but I guess Bing Bar has a better ring to it.
The bing bar sounds interesting, it may not be powerful enough to get you to switch browsers, but if you use IE anyway – it definitely seems like a useful addition. Have you tried Bing Bar? Let us know what you think about it!
Social Graph or Interest Graph – Which approach do you think will win this?