Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Improve Social Search

Improve Social Search

Improve Social Search

Posted: 28 Nov 2012 08:00 AM PST


When you see a strong, social visual interface like Pinterest or Instagram, or even the revitalized Facebook and YouTube interfaces, you realize how far social search has to come. Search engines are generally not visual, don’t port well for sharing to networks, and are closed to commenting.

Google, Bing and Yahoo! index a blend of news and social conversations, but this early concept of social search is pretty stale.

The content presentation and simple link interaction is very 1.0 with text links, and a complete lack of dynamic commenting and sharing.

I’m working with a new client Hubub, a platform that creates news boards with social integration for intense debates. While a conversational content platform, the topical search capacity demonstrated to me that Google and Bing have miles to go to make social search work well.

Consider the newer interface with pictures — similar to Pinterest, YouTube or Instagram web pages — that allows you to pick stories and conversations to engage in or discuss. Again, while not the intended use of the platform, this comparative LA Lakers search does illustrate the real problem with today’s social search.

Hubub Lakers

The Google, Bing and Yahoo! searches are just lame text based sites with a dash of photos! Generally, the user interface lacks compelling oomph!

Facebook’s search generally sucks for finding things, but before it bastardized the network with Timeline driven advertising programs, it had social down to an addictive science.

Google and Bing do a great job of indexing content ideas and making money from ads. But the textual layout with social elements integrated just doesn’t work well from a user experience, standpoint. Mobile search is worse.

Bing Lakers

Maybe I’m crazy on this one. There have been attempts in the past, a la Mahalo, which sought to create search based on social input.

Maybe search can be compared to Craigslist, and heavy text interfaces are the best method for this kind of application.

Or maybe it’s just inevitable that someone is going to do both search and social well soon in the future, and make the killer next gen search engine.

What do you think? Is social search here, or have we yet to see the true merger of the two?


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