Actually, Google and social in general. After reporting on the changes to Google Social Search yesterday, it seemed worth looking further into what exactly are my ‘connections’ in Google’s eyes. If they are going to be putting new information and even changing the rankings of my SERPs, exactly HOW and what they are using is something I’d like to know.
First off, this is not as easy as it sounds. On Twitter or Facebook you manage your friends and the system only ‘talks’ to those on that website. Google is trying to look at your ‘friends’ across MANY networks, no small feat to be sure.
Your Social stuff
First off, what management tools are in place? From all that I’ve seen it seems to really begin and end with the sites/profiles you connect in your Google Profile (or account).
Right away, it’s not the easiest thing to find. I’d prefer an ‘Edit List’ on the list of sites in my main Google profile. Make social EASY.
Next up is how Google perceives my social circle. For that we can get a rough sense by looking at your social circle and content. Right away they note;
You can then start to drill down into each section (of connections) to get an idea exactly how Google is perceiving the relations. From each person, you can then drill down into the paths (not that interesting really). What is interesting is how many connections you may have, this might be a scoring mechanism down the road.
How current is all of this? Not entirely sure, but I made some changes to my profile, we shall see how long it takes to catch up. The main thing is really about getting a sense of how Google perceives social.
Just not there yet
Ultimately this still suffers from some of the problems that is has in the past, specifically; the management tools. Along the way I’d like to see some ability to manage whom, when and where a given contact of mine influences a search result. Sometimes, not at all or only for certain query types (categorization).
Furthermore, I think Google could look at the level of connections (we’re more connected to some people not others) and the amount of interactions (as many tools do for twitter etc..). If Google then started to weight them in terms of potential value to me, then I’d be seeing results more from people I seem to implicitly trust.
Ultimately some better management tools seem in order. Even a simple, "Don’t show results from this person" in the SERP would be a start. Even better, bring the elements of Gmail, Gtalk, Profiles into a single manageable social space. Complete with social circle management.
Anyway… just what was on my mind this morning. What’s your take on it all?