The Social Search War is truly on
The war to dominate the search engine market is truly on with Google quickly retaliating to Microsoft and Bing’s plans to merge their data with cunning plans of their own. Not only that, but Google have recently accused Bing of stealing their search data and using it to improve their own search results. A claim Bing has apparently not denied.
Microsoft and Facebook announced the news that will be joining forces to create ‘social search’. Their new search algorithm that will take the info we share so openly with Facebook such as our ‘likes’ and our friends ‘likes’ and use this to determine which results will be most relevant to us. Facebook claim the ‘like’ button is now used on over 2 million sites so in theory this information could be invaluable to some.
The Bing and Facebook teams have offered examples of how this information could be applied to every day search queries during a press event. For example, which local restaurants or films that your friends like, or returning information on products they have liked. With 500 million Facebook users there’s now enough scale to make that type of data relevant to us on a regular search basis.
Now before we have even had time to digest what this means for the future of search news has started to spread about their the possibility of Google’s own algorithm ‘Google Me’ which was originally believed to be a social network set to rival Facebook, a claim Matt Brittin, Google’s UK chief executive refused to comment on, but stopped short of denying the claim. He did however laugh off the name and said it sounded ‘awful’.
The truth behind the rumours is unclear, but what is clear however is that social search is the future. On the one hand, I can see how this would be useful and yes, sometimes I would find it helpful to find out what my friends rate especially when making a significant purchase or when searching for music as sometimes a friends recommendation is the best way to discover new, less mainstream music. On the other hand I don’t like the idea that this will remove the notion of organic search and make it harder to search for new, less popular and less localised things.
Does this mean goodbye individuality, goodbye serendipity? Hello robot nation, who only like the same things as their friends and become so used to trusting the first search results as we know our friends like them.
Read Kelvin’s in depth podcast on the topic to find out more.