Last year we brought you news of Google’s plans in Social Search. Take a look at that post to see Google’s Matt Cutts talk all about what it actually is.
Finding out what your friends think
For example, lets says you’re searching for an ‘Italian Restaurant in Reading’. It might be that recently a friend of yours has visited an Italian Restaurant in Reading and has made a comment about it on Facebook. Social Search would return a set of results that included the comments made by your friend, since they are relevant to the search results.
All of us are more likely to follow the recommendation of a friend than someone we don’t know, so social search is also about making search more relevant to each one of us.
Facebook and Bing in on the act
Now its the turn of Facebook and Microsoft’s Bing to socialise search. In the US they have just completed a tie up to make search “more social”,
What they plan is that when a user searches for something on Bing or using the web results in Facebook, if any friends have ‘liked’ an item related to that search that person’s image will appear alongside the search results.
Bing has added more depth to its people search too, by making the results based on the user’s Facebook contacts. So when a user searches for an individual, friends or mutual friends get shown higher in the search results.
In a blog post Facebook commented “Everyday most of us make decisions with the input from people we trust and this is a way to bring friends’ recommendations to online search.”
At the moment the change is just in the US – we’re yet to see plans for the UK.
Try it out!
Try switching your settings on Bing to US and trying out social search. Do you think there’s a future in it, something genuinely useful to people? Or is this just another search gimmick? Leave us a comment below.