True Social Search is Coming

Huge news broke last night when Google announce the roll out of it’s integration of social network Google+ into Google Search. This is the culmination of months of work, and a final decision to cement their belief in ‘social signals’ being the best upgrade to it’s algorithm to help us all find the information that we need in the future.

Danny Sullivan wrote a typically excellent blog post on Search Engine Land explaining all the detail.

For brands this underlines the fact that yes, a Google+ brand page is essential. It also underlines how important it is for marketers to now ensure sharing becomes a much more central part of any online acquisition strategy.

When we finally get the new integrated search functionality over here in the UK this is what we’ll see.

Firstly we’ve had personalised results for some time now - prominence given to sites we have visited before – but now they will be joined by sites that either we have liked or people within our network (on Google+) have liked. Interestingly we will also get the following:

  • Public Google+ posts, photos or Google Picasa photos (all of which are also listings from the web)
  • Private or “Limited” Google+ posts, photos or Google Picasa photos shared with you

Quite how many people use Picasa I’m not sure but I guess a few more will now!

The latter is interesting for those of us in the content marketing game as we know how important in has become to have the old +1 button on your content, and now more than ever great content is the key to spreading your message.

For now it’s only Google’s own social network results that are featured, and I for one can’t see Twitter or Facebook ever coming to the party, but what is important to note is that this update (as it’s being called) marks a huge shift for Google away from it’s purest drive to take people through to everyone else’s content as naturally as possible to now start to keep people within it’s own network. This is something covered in another post by Danny last night.

I for one think this is search nirvana! Not only do we have the cleanest, quickest and largest set of results available but we now have recommendations by people we (should) trust overlayed. Google is truly becoming a personal knowledge management tool, and personally… I can’t wait!

What do you think – is Google just trying to dominate the space or is this of benefit to everyone?

The arrow on the left points to a message that, in this example, says that there are “50 personal results and 419,000 other results” that have been found. Some of those 50 results will be blended into the first page of results being shown.

The second arrow highlights a new toggle that Google has introduced, something that many of those who do search engine optimization have wanted for ages. It allows you to switch between personalized and unpersonalized results.

2 thoughts on “True Social Search is Coming

  1. Kristian

    I’m personally more skeptical of this. The question I have to ask is whether Google is performing these updates for the benefit of the user or whether it’s a way of pushing more people onto their own products, the main being Google+. Google has often been accused of self promotion (Chrome sponsored post being the latest), and I’m inclined to lean towards the latter. What is there to suggest that users want to see what their friends have recommended when they perform searches?

    I’d like to know how Google will place relevance on a sites shared by people within your network. Not every recommendation and share is going to appeal to me or always relevant. I don’t like everything my friends like, and they don’t like everything I do!

    As a member of the search marketing industry, I do agree that Google+ is now something we will have to take seriously, but my personal belief is that I still can’t see if taking off. I haven’t used Google+ much since signing up in the Beta stage, mainly because I use social networks to connect with friends and as of yet, not many of mine are using it.

    For me Google+ is the opposite of how other social networks have become successful. With other social networks the people go their first and the marketers turn up after. With Google+ the marketers have jumped on it early, set up camp and are now waiting for the people to turn up!

  2. Tim Aldiss Post author

    It looks like you’re not alone Kristian. Google have pissed off a lot of people and some big brands have now got together and built a “don’t Be Evil” browser plug in that strips out Google links in favour of Facebook and Twitter links (quite a heavy bias against Google!)

    Check out the mouse-over screen shots, and the plug-in download on


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