Social Search, Please, With Everything On It

Keywords aren’t enough anymore: searching across interests and social circles is becoming the rage as we move from Web 2.0 into whatever the next version will be called. As the tracks of likes, shares, recommendations and social connections begin criss-crossing and overlapping, smart algorithms can begin to paint a more accurate picture of what we might really be interested in. Gravee (link here) offers a package deal on search, piled high with bookmarking, personalized recommendations, and social components. First and foremost, it is a metasearch engine, that pulls results from the top engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing (did I just say Bing twice?).  However, if you actually complete a social profile on the site, state your likes and interests, and use the site’s bookmarking, tagging and voting features, your search results start to get even more interesting. You can import existing bookmarks from Google, Delicious and Stumbleupon, as well as links from your Facebook account. These past impressions (and new impressions you make via the Gravee bookmarklet) will modify how certain results will rank in your search efforts.

Social is achieved by filling out a profile on Gravee, as well as by linking your other social profiles from Facebook, MySpace, Hi5 or bebo. You can friend or fan other Gravee members, and like or dislike their bookmarks or add them to your own. Each activity you engage in through Gravee affects your search results. So, in essence, the more frequently and broadly you use Gravee’s features, the better your search results should be. Gravee will also pull information from people with similar interests to yours, making this social search mechanism even more global.

By the way, it’s pronounced “gravy” and comes with a definition: variant(s0: gravy (a): something additional or unexpected that is pleasing or valuable.

It's Not Who You Know …

… it’s who they know and where they share! I followed a link on Lifehacker (via Boing Boing blog) today (link here) that showed me just what Google knows and uses when it provides those search results from your social circle on the bottom of the search results page. I only snipped a section of my page, showing the overall figures for my social circle, but what is really interesting is how Google then breaks down social links under the names of all my contacts. So, if I want to go to Joe Blow’s Slideshare, I can peruse my list and click the link to go directly to that sharing source. I also get a list of contacts showing how I am connected to that particular contact with links directly to the contact venue. When I scrolled down further, I saw the secondary network that is publicly connected to my network – people my contacts are connected to, extending the social circle even further.

Here is the top portion of my page:

It is a fascinating collection of information and a touch scary. But, better the devil you know …

Supersonic Social Search

Really. What’s the point of being social on the Web if you can’t figure out what the social is? Fortunately, there are third party developers more than willing to improve on the rather lame search functions built into most social venues. That is a good thing.

MakeUseOf (link) highlights some of those search engines. I have used a couple, but there are some new ones in the list that I am looking forward to trying out. You can search mutiple sites all at once with Socialmention (link). Check out their ratings for strenth, sentiment, passion and reach of a given search term.  Find other peoples’ social life with yoName (link). It serves up an impressive list of profiles in tabs for many of the most popular sites. Like graphs and checkboxes? Check out snitch.name (link) – a social white pages of sorts which returns a lot of results broken down by social categories. For Google-powered social search, check out Followen (link) and Google Social Search (link). Samepoint (link) looks at social interaction from the vantage point of conversations – it will show the social conversations based on your search term topic.

There are more than a few that didn’t make MakeUseOf’s list. Some have been mentioned before in the Studio, such as 123People (link), Scoopler (link), and OneRiot (link).

No matter which engine you choose, these options can provide you with great topical, personal profile and real-time information to assist your own social web efforts. Monitor your own brand, your near and dear topics, and the brands of competitors and clients more effectively with these search tools!

Google Goes It Again

Google Inc.
Image via Wikipedia

More interesting news on the search front as Google goodies continue to trickle forth, this time in the form of what’s-coming-down-the-road-for-the-search-giant tips. I read about this on ReadWriteWeb today: Google is focusing attention on new ways to broaden and narrow search, all at the same time. When I say broaden, I am talking about enabling the translation of search queries into different languages so that all of the world’s websites and databases may be tapped. More on the translator gadget can be found here. When I say narrow, I mean tightening  search results to make them more personalized, individualized and social from your subjective perspective. What this really means is tapping into your friend’s content to focus results on sources you trust the most. More on the launching of Google Social Search here. Finally, Google is striving to make your search experience more intuitive: like a benevolent super-computer talking in soothing Hal-like tones, Google aims to be there when you open your browser, presenting you with information you didn’t even yet realize you were interested in. The beginnings of this trick are at play in the recently-announced Google mobile search product, but apparently are expected to extend much further. Telepathy, anyone? Whether it scares or excites, there is no question that Google is on a roll.

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Google Social Search – Making Sense of Your Connections

GoogleTo conclude my holy trinity trio of Google posts today, thought I would mention that Google, like the rest of us, is getting into the social with Google Social Search. Social Search will highlight content on a search topic culled from your on-line social network of friends and connections, thus yielding results that may have greater relevance to you than the entries on the average, generic results page.  Social search results will show on your results page under a heading identifying them as “results from people in your social circle …”  Google determines your social circle by reviewing the connections linked from your Google profile. Obviously, the content shown here must be searchable by Google, and information behind walled gardens or locked gates won’t show. Nonetheless, it certainly simplifies your effort to search public results from your network, obviating the need to run separate searches amongst Twitter and Facebook friends or across blogs. You spend time creating and building your network, why not target that network to secure even more trustworthy answers to your queries?

Social Search is an experiment at this time, available from Google Labs.