Google announced  the expansion of its social search result services, which will more predominately feature relevant social activity in Google’s organic listings. Google first incorporated  social activity into organic listings in 2009 with its introduction of Google Social Search, which tacked on keyword relevant social activity to the bottom of the search results page. Google’s new social search takes this approach to a new level, merging content from your social network directly into the results. For the first time your contacts’ activities on Twitter, FriendFeed, LinkedIn, and YouTube will be congregated in one place, embedded into your search engine results page (SERP).
Gianni Arone, Social Media Specialist at The Search Agency sees this as an important step forward in the integration of search and social media: “The recent upgrades and additions to Social Search are indicative of Google’s willingness to stay dominant in search engine marketplace by adaptation. An efficient hybridization of relevant social data with traditional published data is the future of SERP listings. There are far too many active users publishing evangelized content on social networks for that data to be overlooked in personalized search.”
This story has received a lot of press, in part because Google omitted Facebook from its list of social networks. Facebook “Likes” have been included  in Bing’s search results since last year. David Carrillo, Creative Editor at The Search Agency, believes Google will eventually incorporate Facebook into its mix as well: “Google’s recent update to Social Search is yet another indication of social’s bright future in SERPs. With this update it will be possible for a website to rank on broad keywords for an individual user’s search query when they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to — provided they have championed an effective social media campaign. The effects of this update will be far reaching and will only continue to grow as Facebook is inevitably added to the list of included services.”
As has been the case all along, users are given social search results only when logged in to a Google Account. Google allows users to connect accounts from other social media sites (e.g. Flickr, Twitter, LinkedIn) and decide if these accounts are included in their Google profile.
What are your first impressions of Google’s “improved” social search? And when do you believe Facebook results will be included?