Google Social Search Results still in Beta – The quality of your network counts

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If you haven’t seen social search in action, you might want to check this out.  Perhaps, you are like most of us who only look at the first 3 results at the top of the Google search results.  However, if you scroll down (and are logged in to your Google account), you may find a result that emanates directly from your social network.

Specifically, here is a search I did on Grateful Dead Marketing Lessons (I wrote a blog post on The Myndset about this a couple of weeks ago).  Scrolling down the first page of results, I found this at the bottom of the first page of results on Google :

Google Social Search

I was a little surprised since, for all the time I spend every day on internet, I had not come across social search results — and, yet, the function was put in place last October 2009 (per the Google Blog).  The function is still avowedly in BETA test phase (then, again, most of Google’s applications are as well!).  If I was surprised to see myself at the bottom of this search, it was quite an agreeable sensation (not just because it was my own comment).  Why is this an exciting development?  I can see how the strength and quality of one’s network can have a proven advantage.  If you follow and/or have thought leaders in your network, via social search, you will have the content from your community popping up on the front page.

For some, this might be a bit too much — as in Google knows too much about me.  According to Google’s own Support Pages, here is how Google finds who is in your social circle:

  • People in your Gmail (or Google Talk) chat list
  • People in your Friends, Family, and Coworkers groups in your Google contacts
  • People you’re publicly connected to through social sites, such as Twitter and FriendFeed, that appear on your Google profile or in your public Google Buzz stream.
  • People you’re following in Google Reader and Google Buzz
  • People who are connections of those in your immediate, public social circle. This means that if you have a friend on Twitter, and he follows five people, those additional five people may also be included in your social circle.

The question for you:

How curated is your own network, such that in the future you will be happy to find content directly coming from your social network?  Or does the very thought scare you?

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