Google's Marissa Mayer Oct. 21 unveiled Google Social Search, a pending opt-in service that will let users with Google accounts, profiles and contacts find content created by people in social networks such as Twitter and FriendFeed.
The news came just hours after Microsoft executives announced that Bing would be surfacing search results with Twitter tweets and Facebook status updates in real time.
Google already has millions of users for its general search engine. If even a fraction of these millions begin using Google Social Search, it might not leave much room for challengers such as Aardvark, Mahalo and ChaCha.
A key Google search executive unveiled Google Social
Search at the Web 2.0 Summit Oct. 21, attempting to upstage significant
announcements from search challenger Microsoft Bing.
Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and user
experience at Google, got permission to make a surprise announcement this
afternoon at the show here, mere hours after Microsoft executives announced that Bing would be surfacing search results with Twitter tweets and
Facebook status updates in real time.
Mayer did a me, too play. When she took the stage, she told the audience that
would also begin enabling users to search Twitter tweets in the coming months
before demonstrating Social Search.
In a demonstration, Mayer showed how in planning a trip
to New Zealand, she was able to find content about the country written
people in her social network who have been there. The content, which
travel logs and photos, was at the bottom of the search results page.
She also showed how users can find restaurant reviews written by
friends in the service.
"We think this is great from a precision and relevance
standpoint," Mayer said. "We're really excited to be able to offer
this type of service to our users."
To use Social Service, users must be signed into Google
via their Google Account, Google Contacts and must have a Google Profile, where
users list the various social networks they are members of, including
FriendFeed and Twitter.
The service then cross-references information about
users from those networks with their Gmail accounts, determining who users are
The service is opt-in, so users will have to click a
button to use the service when it launches from Google Labs in a few weeks,
Mayer said. Danny Sullivan has more details here on Search Engine Land.
The emergence of Google Social Search could pose quite a
quandary for the litany of social search engines. This includes newly minted
Aardvark, as well as old-school vendor Eurekster and others such as Mahalo and the dozens of others that litter the market.
Google already has millions of users for its general
search engine. If even a fraction of these millions begin using Google Social
Search, it might not leave much room for the challengers. What the play does
show, is that Google has been quite conscientious about the impact the rise of
Facebook and Twitter have for the social networking space.
With Google Social Search, the company is aiming for a
Reese's peanut butter cup of search and social, two worlds that could mesh
quite nicely together, if only users take a bite.