Ever since Eric Schmidt said Google wanted to enhance its search with Facebook data, it's been clear that the search giant is trying to move into the social space. Now, the company has announced updates to Google Social Search that will bring users more relevant, recommended results – and marketers should create shareable content accordingly.
Google will start rolling out the new social search features today. Results created by people searchers are connected to on Blogger, Flickr, Twitter and publicly available sites will be mixed with standard results (instead of at the bottom of results pages). This means friends' social comments, photos or blog posts related to a search query will now appear within general results.
Social search is also getting more “comprehensive,” as results will favor sites advocated by friends. For instance, a search for “NPR” may show related news articles that friends have tweeted higher on the results page than they would otherwise appear. This should be a cue for marketers to invigorate their efforts to distribute shareable content to users.
Finally, Google says it will give users more control over how they connect accounts. Accounts can be connected publicly or privately because “you may not want everyone to know you're @spongebobsuperfan on Twitter.” In light of continuous buzz about Facebook privacy issues, this move could help give the search giant an edge in the social search market.
While Google may gain ground in the social sphere, Facebook Likes are not currently included in the Google social search data. Instead, the company seems to be using Tweets as Likes. As Brafton has reported, Google is rumored be in talks to acquire Twitter for as much as $10 billion.