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Maybe Users Don’t Want Social Search

| in Social Media

SEO news has been focused on Google’s launch of Search, Plus Your World and how it will affect SEO and search in general. Google says this is a big step in creating more personal, customised search results for users – but do people really want more personal, customised search results?

Search, Plus Your World will incorporate data from your Google+ profile and Circles, business pages, and posts. If, for instance, you are searching for apple pie recipes and your friend Dave +1’d his favorite, that will appear on your search results page. Dave’s faves will not, however, appear in the results of strangers. Twitter is adamant that this is “bad” for everyone, especially those seeking information. The microblogging site says that it will make it harder for users to find up-to-the-minute information on world events, such as the riots in Egypt in 2011. They, and others, also contend that Google is unfairly favoring its own results.

But beyond these concerns, there is another. Do users want their search results to be customised? Do you care that Dave, a contact from work that you met twice, likes this apple pie recipe? Is he an apple pie authority? Why should his +1 mean anything to you? And if it doesn’t, is it pushing back links or sites that could mean something to you, like a friend’s re-tweet on apple pie being a superfood? Slate’s Farhad Manjoo writes:

I’m fine with personalized search – Google should use what it knows about me to improve my results. What bothers me is “social search,” which uses what Google knows about other people to determine my search results. More often than not, the inclusion of social results on Google and Bing seems like a cheap gimmick. They don’t improve rankings in any meaningful way, and to the extent that they are replacing other valuable links, they’re cluttering my search page.

Mashable did an informal poll on their website to determine if regular users actually want Google to search their worlds. According to the latest figures, the answer is no.

Do you prefer your searches to be generic (as in everyone gets the same results for the same queries) or do you like to know which content your contacts recommend?

Posted by Hitesh Patel, Managing Director at Bullseye Media

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