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Google Search Gets Social Make Over

In typical understated style, Google recently announced on their blog some potentially innovative new changes that could result in major changes in how the search engine works.

The company announced unceremoniously that social media results, including links added by your friends on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook will soon start appearing in search results on Google.

The blog post stated: ‘we’re taking another step forward—enabling you to get even more information from the people that matter to you, whether they’re publishing on YouTube, Flickr or their own blog or website.’

So what does this mean for the future of how we search using Google? The major noticeable difference will be that social search results will now be mixed throughout results based on their relevance, whereas in the past they only appeared at the bottom of search results.

This means you’ll start seeing more links from people like co-workers and friends, with annotations below the results they’ve shared or created.

In practise it would work something like this: If you are thinking of kayaking in Canada and your colleague Dave has written a blog post about his own experience kayaking in Canada, then Google will bump up that post in your search results with a note and a picture.

Google has also made changes to the main Social Search function too, adding notes for links people have shared on Twitter and other sites. If someone you’re connected to has publicly shared a link, Google may show this link in your results with a clear annotation of who posted it and when, only visible to you.

The new functions are only available to Google users who are signed into their account at present – as the search engine does need to know who you are before it can start showing off your social media friend’s links and information.

What Does Google Social Mean for Search?

With people increasingly using smartphones, iPads and TVs to access the internet and search online, this new development makes perfect sense from Google as consumers may want to search online for products and services while simultaneously looking for friend’s links and recommendations too.  It’s just, well, more sociable after all, isn’t it?