Is Google Moving Towards Becoming a Social Search Engine

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If the series of tests that Google engineers are doing on their search portal is any indication of what may soon become of the Google Search, then we might be looking at Social-powered Google search engine in the near future. According to Ben Gomes in a post at the Official Google Blog, they are conducting “little experiments” and testing of everything from the barely visible to the glaringly obvious.”

googlesearch_user_ranking-copy.jpgOne of these experiments involves manipulating the search results not by Google’s automated machines but by Google users. In the screenshots provided, the green up and down arrows were being displayed at the end of every search results links. Clicking on those arrows influence future placing of the search results in Google SERPs the next time they are displayed.

Simply put the new feature is pointing towards a more sociallly human-powered search engine. This feature is of course still in experimental stage. But if indeed, Google plans on implementing this in the future, Google should put up something that would prevent the system from getting abused.

Another way to look at this is that Mahalo, Wikia Search and all the other so called human-powered search engine maybe starting to gain some new grounds, and Google is noticing it, hence the testing of the feature.

Other experimentation which the Google engineers are doing on Google Search includes something about how some Google SERP elements are being displayed. These according to Google pertains to how the search engine treats relevant search results it displays.

Arnold Zafra
Arnold Zafra writes daily on the announcements by Google,, Yahoo & MSN along with how these announcements effect web publishers. He is currently building three niche blogs covering iPad News, Google Android Phones and E-Book Readers.
Arnold Zafra
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  • Dominican Republic

    this will be a great way for spammers to raise on the sepr´s.

  • James Montgomerie

    Interesting information, although lets hope the system they implement is protected from abuse. I’m not convinced this concept could work, perhaps you would need to register with a full Google account to be allowed to use the system? Who knows, but I do like the concept.

  • Elegance in Design

    This is a little much. Personalization and the idea of Personal PageRank is one thing, but turning this into a digg like system may end up becoming more like stumble upon which is now mainly networks of people voting for money. It’s worthless.

  • Kaushik

    If they implement it, that will be the end of Google.

  • zarathrusta

    100% agree with Kaushik. It would skew everything.

  • Chris

    There are a few companies out there that are already doing this, such as scour and Me.dium. Check out Me.dium’s social search engine at It is a crowd powered search engine that doesn’t require voting or commenting and is backed by the new Yahoo! BOSS system. Social search is here to stay.

  • Mercy

    Will the experiment comes only for persanalized SERP or the universal (non personalized) SERP?

  • Tim
  • Stop Snoring Tips

    I am all for trying new things but the example you gave in your post could seriously hurt google in the long term

    It is too open to abuse and you could end up with websites ranking for keywords for which they have little relevance

    The current system works well

  • Endre Jofoldi

    Ironically if somebody has a chance to do it right it is Google.
    The main weakness of social search is, that it does not work if there is not enough “votes” from the users. But why would you like to use a search engine until it is not good enough? So it is a catch 22. But Google has a huge user base, ha can just record “votes” until the data grows big enough to add as a new measure to the quality of the results.

  • Ruddy

    The main problem here is, you won’t always vote for something after you search. For example, now I come to digg then I found an interesting news, I visited the link. Then after I read it, would I go back to and vote for the story? Most times no. That’s digg, when you want to search for news.

    How about google, when you want to search for information? You’ll only search and search, you won’t vote, even if you like the site, for what reason you click the back button and vote for it? Unless it’s your own site? For people who think social search is harder to be abused, you must think twice. At the moment, there’s not so much spammers on social sites because they know the conversion rate from social sites are very poor. But if Google follows the trend to become another social search engine, obviously people (including me) would try to find a way to gamble it.

    And believe me, it’ll only a matter of time before social search can be abused. Just like SEO, YouTube, and adwords nowadays, too easy.

  • berto

    Did anyone catch the results of the alpha test that Google did of a similar voting system? From the sounds of it, they worked out the spam issues if they’re looking at it again. If I were to guess what they’re doing, they’re counting the votes with little value similar to how they treat blogs nowadays.

  • Nick Stamoulis

    I think that Google will use the social aspect as part of their ranking algorithm within the next 5 years…

  • Michael Schwartz

    Google has too much power now, and this is never good. Giving the “power to the people” is a good way for Google to keep its market position, but spam is certainly a big issue Google will have to address.

  • Ram Lal

    Google is becoming more social, by allowing the guy siting in google center in hydrabad india to arbitrarily fiddlile with the page rank depending on how best he likes the web site design….. if this isn’t social, what is?

    Bye bye page rank…… welcome “google hand rank”.

  • Scott Germaise

    There’s no telling if such a product would be used for social search, (that is affecting relevancy ranking for others in a social graph or everyone), or just for one user. Getting users to actually provide so-called “relevance feedback” has always been the sticky wicket of search. They’re likely running statistics on the efficacy of using any results they do get for all three potentially options, the unity of one user, plurality of those in a social graph however many levels deep, and for the universality of “all.”

    Of course, others have already mentioned the potential for spam. But there’s also the simple issue of time. Things change over time. Even PageRank has to be weighted somewhat to account for new things. That is, supposedly, a site may have more relevance if it’s been around longer. But you ‘probably’ still don’t want yesterday’s very popular news story for McCain/Obama to rank on top of today’s less linked to, but more current story. (Assuming all other things being equal; which of course they’re not when you look at a constantly updating index, but you get the point.)


  • Chat Man

    W1.0 is not W2.0. W2.0 *is* social, by it’s very nature. Google will have to evolve and adapt to effectively index information on the net, and since W2.0 and the ‘social’ of it all, Google will have to follow suit.

    Chat Man

  • Software Testing Training

    Thanks for Article……

    Good Article Writing

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    Our Software Testing Partner