Just like contextual advertising, Google Social Search makes your search experience contextual to you and your friends. Cool.
I’m not immediately seeing the business application of this and I’m not excited about seeing what my friends have written on a subject. I have many friends that write blogs. I aggregate them on my Google Home Page. I pretty much know what my friends are doing, what their opinions are, and what they are writing about. I can’t see myself Googling a search to find out what my friends are thinking.
I suppose that if they did write a blog last year that I somehow missed, it would be interesting to to have the ability to at least have the option of reading their thoughts first. For personal use, it would be interesting if Google could deliver an aggregated search and pull from Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, comments from Flickr & YouTube, and serve them to me sorted by acquaintances. But, Google Social Search isn’t there yet.
What they’ve done is simply taken the enormous amount of collected data from the Internet they’ve accumulated and sorted it by the searchers list of acquaintances. Clever, but I don’t think disruptive. The one strong social-psychological benefit here is, it is that this type of a search is giving greater empowerment to the participants of the social Internet. The biggest change in business marketing that has taken place over the past several years with the integration of social media, is the shift in power.
No longer does the big corporation control their message, control their markets, or control their customers. The shift has allowed the individual, the Internet social citizen to take control over the corporate communications. With Google Social Search, you can find recommendations and criticisms written and reported by your most trusted social network, your friends, family, and coworkers. Recommendations by a friend is one of the most powerful influence there is. Google Social Search, I think, will add significantly to this shift in power.