Social Search is a novelty. On paper, it sounds good: search results are influenced by the likes and interests of those in your social circle. But for the vast majority of searches, I don’t really give a damn what my friends think or where they have been before. Yet Google has stated that they’ve launched a more integrated social search experience. Here’s the example they’ve posted:
“This means you’ll start seeing more from people like co-workers and friends, with annotations below the results they’ve shared or created. So if you’re thinking about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and your colleague Matt has written a blog post about his own experience, then we’ll bump up that post with a note and a picture”
Useful? No. Abstract Example? Yes. Nice try guys.
I search Google when I need information about a topic that none of my friends have. A perfect example of a situation like this would be if I wanted to buy a nice new HD Video Camera. There’s maybe 3 or 4 people out of my 500 or so Facebook friends who are even close to being qualified to answer the question “what is the best HD video camera I can buy for $X?” The people I want to hear from are professional videographers and product reviewers. Possibly I’d go to Amazon and read reviews simply because every product has a review there. But I won’t defer to my friends for this one.
A question I’d post to Facebook rather than Google is something like “What’s the best Mexican food place in Pacific Beach?” That’s something I want to hear from my friends. Google’s results are not in any way supported by actual quality of service, the local results are easily gamed, and they are simply not that useful compared to a few vouched for suggestions by my friends in the area.
Social Search, to me, is simply a buzzword mashup without any useful substance. It’s almost like they’re showing off what they can do with their technology. It’s no secret that Google absolutely sucks at anything that has to deal with Social-Anything, and the Social Search enhancements are a shining example of their perpetual failure in that field.
The bottom line is, Google is for search queries outside of the realm of your friend’s expertise. Google themselves state that 20 to 25% of searches have never been searched before. That’s a huge amount of searches that you nor anyone else has ever queried before. I’m calling it right now, Social Search will not become what all the buzzword fans think it will become.