Google announced that it was working on this Social Search feature at the Web 2.0 Summit last week, and not a week later the product is available to try.
So, how does it work?
Using your Google Contacts, Social Search combines results from your friend’s blogs, Twitter, and other public social media sites and lets you combine results from searching those along with Google’s regular search results.
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To get started, you first have to head over to Google Labs’s experimental section and activate this feature.
Once you’ve got Social Search activated, a section of your search results will show “Results from your Social Circle”. This contains blog posts, tweets and the like from people you know. You can also look at only the social results by selecting “Show Options” and selecting “Social”.
At present, while everyone can activate the feature, you might not see it straight away. Whether this is a deliberately staggered rollout or a teething problem isn’t clear.
Better results for you, better results for Google
Social Search is definitely a useful addition to Google’s search arsenal for Google itself as well as for users. While users get the benefit of their friends and acquaintances, Google is encouraging you to increase the amount of information you give them about yourself.
Just take a look at the video from Google’s Matt Cutts below. It’s clear that the company wants you to fill out your Google Profile as completely as you can. After all, the better it knows its users the better it can serve them and the better chance it has of fending off competition from that plucky upstart called Bing.