The Future of Search
The Internet is a pretty disorganized place. While search engines do their part in organizing information, it’s tough to discover great new things online on your own. And as far as finding inspiration online goes, just try searching inspiration in Google; the first page of results is trying to sell you something.
But search is changing rapidly. And those changes are making a clear statement: Internet search is returning to human curation.
A few days ago, Microsoft announced that Bing would be adding a social search bar to its search results. In January, Google rolled out Search Plus Your World, a feature that integrates social sharing popularity into search results.
Why would the big search engines welcome social into their territory? One reason is that social search tactics have been around since the early days of search engines. Google's PageRank, a number Google assigns to a website indicating its popularity, is at its core, a social search function; it measures the number of links pointing to a site.
That aspect of PageRank as a social function, however, is masked by the fact that a computer program, a search engine crawler, indexes those sites to display in search results. On the surface, then, it appears as if Google is completely automated.
In contrast, Facebook and Twitter are social to the core. They rely on human curation of content shared on their platform. And because of their size, Facebook and Twitter have become a sort of index of content.
Another reason, however, for search engines to integrate social is for comfort. Googling something is scary; you don't know what's going to come back as a result, and then you have to look through the results to find the one you want. Asking a friend for something, on the other hand, isn't. If your friend shows up next to a Google or Bing search result, it just feels more comfortable.Continued on the next page