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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Social Search: Results Influenced By Friends

Google’s vice president of Search Products & User Experience, Marissa Mayer, talked to VentureBeat about social search. She first gives a real-word example:

Social search happens every day. When you ask a friend “what movies are good to go see?” or “where should we go to dinner?”, you are doing a verbal social search. You’re trying to leverage that social connection to try and get a piece of information that would be better than what you’d come up with on your own.

(I think she’s still speaking about humans there.) Besides features like Google Co-op or something like “other users like you also searched for,” she later goes on to give an example of how something like this might work out in web search:

For example, it’s clear that people would attribute more authority to the pages that their friends have visited. So if we took Web History and allowed that data to influence rankings, such that pages that your friends have visited were now bumped up in your search ranking, that that might be a good augmentation to something like personalized search. In essence, it’s a fusion of personalized and social search. In this case, what we would do is say: This Gmail account which maps to Marissa Mayer then maps to these other friends, allow those friends to influence this ranking

Marissa adds that “no, we have not done anything like that to date.”

Asked about the future of search, Marissa argues that it’s hard to imagine data like “who your friends are, what you like to do, where you are” will not be used by search engines ten years from now.



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