Google boosts Social Search by giving friends’ posts higher page priority

google_logoGoogle announced today plans to integrate posts from the people you are most connected to into its standard search results. Launched in 2009, Google’s “Social Search” has been slow to fully form. But this recent update brings its functionality up to speed.

“As always, we want to help you find the most relevant answers among the billions of interconnected pages on the web,” writes Google project management director Mike Cassidy and product manager Matthew Kulick on the Official Google blog. “But relevance isn’t just about pages—it’s also about relationships.”

Everything from your friends’ tweets to blog posts to YouTube videos will now be “mixed throughout your results based on their relevance.” In addition, Google will now display “notes” next to search results for links that your friends have already shared. Google explains:

“[If someone you’re connected to has publicly shared a link, we may show that link in your results with a clear annotation (which is visible only to you, and only when you’re signed in). For example, if you’re looking for a video of President Obama on “The Daily Show” and your friend Nundu tweeted the video, that result might show up higher in your results and you’ll see a note with a picture of Nundu:”

google-social-search-update

Obviously, this could create some privacy concerns, since not everyone wants everyone they know to see everything they’ve posted publicly. Google addresses this by increasing users’ control of their Google profile settings, allowing people to connect or disconnect the accounts that will show up in your friends’ results.

Google has included Twitter posts into its results for some time, With this update, however, results will include content from Flickr, YouTube and even the increasingly-popular social Q&A start-up Quora.

It seems the only significant social content that won’t be integrated into Social Search is of the Facebook variety. This, according to Cassidy, is because Facebook status updates and other posts on the site aren’t public. “We’re focused on sites where it’s relatively easy to crawl for data,” Cassidy tells TechCrunch. He added, “We’re interested in including any publicly available content.”

So be careful what you share out there, people. Your friends are now watching you.

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