Big news last week when Google further integrated social connections into search results. The trend to merge social with search hinges on the perception that personalization will improve relevance. While my sense of this is that it fully depends upon what you are searching (i.e., personalization may help a great deal when searching a restaurant, but might not be so helpful when searching facts and figures), there is little doubt that social savvy, personalization, and relevance are the direction in which the Web is inexorably moving.
That said, you can one-up Google’s social by integrating a nifty little extension into your browser called Wajam (link here). This social extension meshes your friend’s content with your search results within the browser itself, and not just in Google. As a result, you can get that social-personal-relevance goodness in Google, Yahoo and Bing while using Chrome, Firefox, Safari and even IE.
Once installed, simply search in the engines and the most relevant Wajam results show at the top. The result includes information about the sharer, their comments and whether any other friends shared the same content. Implicit in this latter stat is the concept that 10,000 people can’t be wrong – the more trusted sources sharing an item, the more relevant, important and useful that item must be.
Image from Wajam FAQ.
There are further stats along the very top of the results. Additionally, starred or shared items of your own will also show at the top. View more results from friends will show the top 11 results. If you click a friend’s name, their specific shared items will show.
Image from Wajam FAQ
There are even more stats – see how many people shared a particular result and click the number showing to see all comments. Sort results by newest or oldest and by sources.
Image from Wajam FAQ.
There are search terms listed under the top result and clicking on them will further refine the results.
You can link your Twitter, Facebook and Delicious accounts to serve as social sources for your Wajam results, and you can even import bookmarks from your browser. This enables you to leverage your own saved and shared content as well as the content saved and shared by your Twitter and Facebook friends.
I have commented in the Studio on the ability to search and leverage your social content before in connection with my review of Greplin (link here). Wajam offers another take on that task, this one residing in your browser and happening as naturally as a Google search. Whether you buy into the whole social/personal/relevance formula or not, Wajam is a heavyweight contender and deserves a spot in your Web search tool box.
Wajam is in private beta right now, unfortunately, but you can attempt to jockey for a spot by “liking” their Facebook page or following them on Twitter. Can’t hurt to cut the line, so to speak.