Technology

The business and culture of our digital lives,
from the L.A. Times

« Previous Post | Technology Home | Next Post »

Google starts testing Social Search. 'Creepy,' naysayers mutter. [Updated]

October 26, 2009 |  5:41 pm

Just about any social-networking-focused product that Google rolls out brings a group of naysayers pointing fingers and calling it creepy.

Right on cue, those folks are welcoming Google's new real-time search feature with less than open arms: "Google Social Search is creepy.... Just perfect for child preditors [sic] to use," wrote Greg House on Twitter.

OK, let's turn it down a notch.

U2-msaleemGoogle Social Search is available for testing in Google Labs, a section of experimental search features. Social Search stems from a deal Google recently struck with Twitter.

[Updated at 6:28 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Google had announced a deal with Facebook.]

Microsoft announced a similar deal and promptly rolled out BingTweets along with news of a partnership with Facebook. No one has yet disclosed financial terms.

Google’s Social Search works much like its standard search, but instead of sifting through the Web at large, it culls links from friends’ pages on the user’s social networks. 

In order to know who your friends are, Google asks you to fill out a profile that includes links to your pages on networks like Twitter and FriendFeed -- which is now owned by Facebook. A deal with Facebook could be on the horizon -- at which time, Facebook's notoriously change-averse users would no doubt bemoan the feature.

Are today's reactions any worse than the ones to Google Web History, which shows you a list of past searches? Or to Google Latitude, which shows you where on a map you and your friends are? Or to Gmail's targeted ads, which, for example, promote concert tickets if you receive an e-mail about U2? Or to Google Voice, which logs your phone usage, voice mails and text messages?

Maybe not, but what happens if Google rolls out Facebook search?

-- Mark Milian

Twitter: @markmilian

Comments 

Advertisement










Video