Google Social Search Takes Facebook Fight Global

Google said it is taking its Social Search service international in 19 languages this month as it seeks to challenge Facebook in the arena for personalized search.

Google May 19 said it is bringing its Google Social Search software globally in 19 languages, ratcheting up the competition with social network giant Facebook.

Launched in 2010, Google Social Search is the company's bid to personalize search by surfacing results of blog posts and other information generated by friends in a user's social circle.

Social circle builds a bridge between users' Google accounts and their Google profiles to surface users' content in its results page. This circle includes users of social services Google users have listed in their Google profile, including Gmail, Twitter, Quora, Google Buzz, Facebook and Picasa.

Google updated Social Search in February to make sure results appear throughout a results page based on relevance of a user's connections with friends.

The idea is to generate more traffic and sharing among friends, ideally to help users find new friends, who will in turn share info forward. It is this latest iteration that is rolling out to users of other languages on other Google domains.

Users will also see who shared the result in the annotation underneath.

"For example, if you're looking for information about low-light photography and your friend Marcin has written a blog post about it, that post may show up higher in your results with a clear annotation and picture of Marcin," explained Google software engineer Yohann Coppel.

Social Search connections are summarized in a user's Google Dashboard. Google said Social Search's international expansion should be available in the coming week, with more languages on the way.

The extension of Social Search comes during a busy few months of socially oriented search news. Google in March introduced Google +1, an effort to let users share search results and ads they like.

Google Profile users can click the +1 next to each search result or ad on and +1's appear next to each selected search result in subsequent searches.

This is an effort to improve search relevancy, make search a bit more personal and sell ads against such results, which is where the battlefield lies between Google and rival Facebook.

Facebook, whose Like button is proving extremely viral, this month was caught planting stories that Google's social circle feature infringes on user privacy.

Facebook hired Burson-Marstellar to flag this issue with major media outlets and bloggers only to have it backfire. Bing earlier this week boosted its integration with Facebook, adding the Like button to its Bing Bar.