Search & Social: How Google Views Both

It’s not everyday that you get to meet Amit Singal – VP, Google Search. But last week I had the fortune of meeting him at the #TEStalk event organized by TiE Mumbai as a precursor to its TiE Summit to be held on 20-21 December.

The event was a great success with Amit sharing his journey and knowledge with all the entrepreneurs present over there. He also introduced us to the world of Google search and its vision for future. And yes, Social does feature in it.

He was bombared with tons of questions but I wont dwell into all of them. I will dwell on those which talked about the influence of social on search.

Social Is Personal, But Not Necessarily Relevant

While the whole wide world was excited about Social merging with Search, Amit answered pointed that it can’t be the same for every query. Google believes in shwoing results that are more relevant than personal.

If you have bruised your knee, would you want to seek help from your friend or from a doctor?

… was his reasoning while trying to explain why personalization can’t work every time. So while Google+ will be your social/search layer, your search results will include results from your friend network only when it is relevant.

Why Google+ Pages are Given More Weight

Do a Google search and it will be evident that Google+ is being favored over other social networks even when it is not that active. It makes one think if Google is pushing its own property and burying other’s down? Well, I think so.

However, according to Amit, Google would love to display results from other social networks. But while some don’t allow Google to fetch content, some don’t ‘send it across’ in a timely manner. So they are left with their own property, Google+, to fetch all the social content in time.

Facebook Search Will Keeps Us on Our Toes

With the news coming out that Facebook will soon launch its search engine, I expected Google to be a little nervous. But Amit sounded confident when he said he welcomes any sort of competition. For it would keep them on their toes.

Well, Facebook has the power of 1 billion users behind it and an evolved/radical search engine can definitely dent Google’s Search business.

But only time will tell how the Social world will influence Search. The game of search still belongs to Google and it remains to be seen if it can make the experience much better for us while at the same time stave off serious threats from new competitors.