Google Rolls Out Controversial Social Search Feature

Google announced on its official blog that it is rolling out controversial Social Search feature in over next few days.

This experimental feature which is launched in 2009 combines regular Google search results with publicly available data created by your friends’ social network activities.




For example, if you’re looking for information about low-light photography and your friend has written a blog post about it, that post may show up higher in your results with a clear annotation and picture of your friend.

Social Search can help you find pages your friends have created, and it can also help you find links your contacts have shared on Twitter and other sites. If someone you’re connected to has publicly shared a link, Google may show that link in your results with a clear annotation.

From the official blog post,

So how does this all work? Social search results are only visible to you and only appear when you choose to log in to your Google Account. If you’re signed in, Google makes a best guess about whose public content you may want to see in your results, including people from your Google chat buddy list, your Google Contacts, the people you’re following in Google Reader and Buzz, and the networks you’ve linked from your Google profile or Google Account. For public networks like Twitter, Google finds your friends and sees who they’re publicly connected to as well.

This feature was recently the subject of controversy, as Facebook hired a PR company to push negative stories about Social Search in the press. Facebook claims that Google’s practices raise “serious privacy concerns”, and it’s unhappy with the fact that Google can use Facebook data for its service without Facebook’s permission.

To learn more about Social Search, watch this video –