Sunday, November 29, 2009

Social data: Extending search into the social networks.

In the previous post we pointed out that data from social networks is not sufficiently included in Google search results. If all your friends digg a certain web page or "like it" in facebook, it should be preferred in your personalized search results.

Several different solutions are already trying to socialize search results (diggWowdGoogle social search). However none of them takes the integration sufficiently far. 

One solution could be that your personal index in a desktop search (e.g Google Desktop Search) is extended with your social network data. For this you would not need to give login/password information directly to Google but to a local application only. Alternatively an authorization mechanism could allow Google to read your personalized social data (This would be similar to flickr and its way of authorizing partner sites).

More progress in the integration is currently beeing made within a different trend. This is the wide adoption of smartphones. On new smartphones your address book is now already linked to your social networks. Additionally you will have Universal Search that searches in your contacts, applications, local files and the Internet from one search window. In my opinion the next step will be to add "social data" to this universal search. However as you do not want your mobile to scan frequently the net and extensively process a personal search index (reducing your battery life), this will still require some remote application producing the index. Wether you will trust the personal index to sit on a centralized server in the cloud or on your local machine is still to be seen. 

Another problem is certainly how to mix the social search results into the general results. In this area careful experiments about weighting and grafical positioning are currently beeing made.

What do you think, would social search results be relevant for you ? Are using already any specific standalone search for this (like a search inside of facebook) ?


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