WASHINGTON – Google is making Web search more social, weaving posts from the Twitter, Flickr, Blogger and other accounts of a user’s friends into search results.
The move is an expansion of “Google Social Search,” which the Internet giant introduced in 2009.
Instead of featuring at the bottom of a page of search results, relevant posts from the social media accounts of a user’s friends are now integrated into the list of results themselves.
A Google search for camping, for example, may bring up a Twitter post by a friend about hiking trails or a link to campsite pictures uploaded by a friend to Flickr.
“Relevance isn’t just about pages — it’s also about relationships,” Google product management director Mike Cassidy and product manager Matthew Kulick said in a blog post.
“Today we?re taking another step forward — enabling you to get even more information from the people that matter to you, whether they’re publishing on YouTube, Flickr or their own blog or website,” they said.
“This means you’ll start seeing more from people like co-workers and friends, with annotations below the results they’ve shared or created,” they added.
Social search will only be available to users who have a Google account.
Google account holders will also have the option of linking their social media accounts to their Google profiles.
Mindful of potential privacy concerns, Cassidy and Kulick said: “The new setting enables you to choose whether or not to show your connected accounts publicly on your Google profile.”
Google said the new social search feature is only available in English for the moment.
It will also not display any input from the largest social network of them all — Facebook — which has previously declined to share data with Google.