Google & WOWD Putting Humans Back Into The Search Equation

Like Mahalo, ChaCha, Eurekster and a few other social search engines before them, adding humans to the search function seems to be having a resurgence in popularity. After all when Google jumps into the fray, people do stop and listen.

Google's recent announcement regarding their Beta launch of  "Google Social Search" started trending on Twitter, October 26, and the Twitterverse has been cyber-ventillating ever since.

Not to be confused with Real-Time Search, Social Search doesn't necessarily have to do with timing. It has more to do with the people you trust. Specifically, it means "human data" generated by me and you, and by those you know or by human editors and publishers.

To become "Social-Search-Ready" for Google, one needs to have a presence on some of the social networks like Twitter and Facebook and an account with Gmail or Google Reader.

According to Google's official blog on the subject, "your friends and contacts are a key part of your life online." But while you conduct searches all day long on various topics, the search results of your friends most likely will not show up on the first SERP (search engine result page) of Google.

With Google's Social Search, your searches become 'personalized' allowing you to find relevant public content from your friends and contacts on the topic or keywords you are searching.

Maureen Heymans, Technical Lead, demonstrates the features of Google Social Search.

Matt Cutts from the search quality team explains how Google Social Search works.

The beta version of WOWD, the Internet's newest search engine, was launched October 20-22 at the 2009 Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. It aims to differentiate itself from other search engines such as Google by identifying the most popular sites from both a social search and a real-time search perspective.

Mark Drummond, CEO WowdMark Drummond, CEO WowdMark  Drummond, CEO made the claim that today's search engines are not good discovery tools. WOWD provides a new layer of information (the actual experience of its users, which is all based on users downloading their browser application and becoming part of the "WOWD cloud." The contents of the search results changes dynamically and in real time based on the interests of one's community. You can also immediately share your results via Facebook and Twitter. The WOWD browser application download is available for the Mac, Windows and Linux.

Social Search NetworkSocial Search NetworkWhile Social Search is a great idea, I don't think either one of these search engines can be used exclusively as a stand-alone. We already know that Mahalo, ChaCha and Eurekster are other competitors in this space. If one is only searching for the content generated by one's sphere of influence, no matter how far out one's ripples of "six degrees" extend, it will always be a limited universe. However, when coupling Google Social Search and WOWD with real "Real-time" and real "traditional search," then I think you might begin to focus on more comprehensive search results. But really folks,who needs to pick up bits and pieces from several separate search engines. Who has the time to be that social?