Google’s Social Search

Google has released yet another social network “plugin”, this time in their search engine.

Of course, this isn’t the first time. In 2009, they introduced a feature to see what people are saying about what you’re searching for in real-time at the bottom of the page. They’ve added more searchability and integrated social networks increasingly over the year, and now they’ve added even more.

Searching will now produce results with extra information from your friends and connections who have talked about the links produced by your search. This is designed to make it easier to find what your friends like while you’re searching for anything. Looking for a selection of cameras? Mr. X talked about how this one is great. Looking to book a trip? Ms. Y certainly loved going to Yosemite! These examples are taken from Google’s own video.

As an increasing number of companies merge together, it seems like the Internet is morphing into one giant social network. Is this a good thing?

I do believe that social networking is handy. It allows friends and family to stay connected, even if they’re on opposite sides of the planet. But as more people flock towards social networking, the more privacy deteriorates. People post about what they eat, when they go to bed, sometimes even when they go to the bathroom! People aren’t just losing their privacy. They’re giving it up willingly.

So where is the line between useful social networking and complete lack of privacy? That’s the problem. There is no clear line. It’s up to people like you and me to make that choice for ourselves. Even though major corporations like Google add social networking features, in the end, we’re the ones who give out the information in the first place.

What are your thoughts on what boundaries should be? Is everything okay the way it is? Feel free to reply in comments.

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2 thoughts on “Google’s Social Search

  1. bigbrother

    I never really was fond about Ms. Y, she can such a…

    But on a more serious note, I’ve never been fond about all this at all. I remember blogging about (back in the days when blogs were people who coded them themselves or used things like wordpress) I had mentionned how important it was to add meta tags to exclude Google’s bot, and prevent archiving (ex.: archive.org or Google’s cache), unless of course you had nothing to hide from future employers or whoever might look you up. At the time, it seemed like a paranoid idea, and now, employers check out your facebook account right after having leafed through your curriculum, or even potential girlfriends. That’s why mine is “No Privacy” but Facebook said: “We cannot allow you to bare that name” (in other words of course, so I had to play on the phonetics).

    And for Google, Google deceived me last year with Buzz, by default putting your information (real name, friends’ comments, etc) publically available. Of course, they settled that later following so many rants and (I think) a lawsuit or more.

    I think Google, Facebook, well… all of the giants, are just giving people what they want: people respond to social, then let’s feed them, which they’re happy to do because it’s such precious information for advertisers, their (almost) sole monetary source.

    But it’s hard, choosing between keeping away from all of it when you can connect with so many friends more easily, but I wish there was more privacy control, especially Facebook. I’m just rambling….

    All in all, the web SHOULDN’T be focused on social networking. It should be a source of information and sharing of knowledge foremost, not sharing if you’ve had a bad hair day. We have the resources to communicate to everyone around the world, and yet we (often) waste such potential.

  2. Eisengrim

    I’m anti-social so by default I’ve ascertained a sheer disdain for social networking sites like Facebook and other such things, and I care not for having advertisements aimed at me by companies that are watching my every move online. I don’t want people to know what I’m doing on the internet simply because I don’t like people knowing what I do in general, mind your own business! As for employers looking up your profile on Facebook I personally believe that is an egregious invasion of privacy, if you don’t not add your Facebook account onto your resume(which of course never should be on one) then the employer has no right to look at it pending work related matters.

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