Search goes Social: Perspectives (Part I)
The debate- Internet-Searchable or Social seems to now precipitate towards the later.However, the changing landscape of internet has a few perspectives for all the stakeholders in the system. These discontinuities are but natural steps in evolution of internet around the user.
Facebook and Bing tied up last week to feature Facebook contents and recommendations, likes on Bing Search results. Earlier Google also started featuring Tweets and Twitter updates in its search results. It’s a natural innovation that fits into the business models of both companies and takes the trend of individualized search results to its next logical level: results tailored to the searcher’s existing social footprint. Until now, search algorithms have used machine learning and artificial intelligence to predict which of the billions of pages out on the Internet might be most salient to the users’ search. Now, search engines are going to have access to something even more precious: the knowledge of who the users’ friends are and what they like.
This evolution has a ground breaking impact in terms of how Search optimization engines function and the SEO gurus and companies will now have to adapt to the ever evolving user needs. A few thoughts on the impact of the fusion of social media to search:
Search just reached an inflection point. Google’s great innovation was to figure out how to deliver the most relevant search results, based on the assumption that a webpage that had a large number of other pages linking to it would be more interesting than one with fewer links. Google has built its search algorithms by continuing to troll large sets of data for other attributes that indicate relevance. Recent developments (Bing and Facebook in particular) can deliver results based on what the users’ trusted sources of information—the users’ friends and acquaintances—think. This is a giant leap forward. Which leads us to the next point…
Companies have to focus on creating great customer experiences. Because when their customers go searching online—for a movie, a camera, a travel destination—their friends’ recommendations are going to be front and center. Launched a store that no one “Liked?”. Chances are that it is not going to show up in the search results.
Search is going to look a lot different. Forget the list of blue links. The introduction of a social dimension to search results, could actually start representing search results—visually—in new ways. Though it is too early to elaborate: What ways? It still means that search visualization could be wholly different now on.
We’re going to be seeing even more social elements introduced into Bing’s search results. And soon. That is evolution. Microsoft and Facebook collaborative effort took them two months to think up. Which means more are going to be coming down the pike in the months to come.
The user must now master the users’ Facebook privacy settings. Mindful of earlier criticism of Facebook’s handling of privacy issues, both Microsoft and Facebook went out of their way today to stress that users will retain control over what Facebook shares with Bing. The flip side is that users actually have to exercise the control that Bing and Facebook give them.
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