Tweets to Start Shaping Google Search Results

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A major change to the way you search the web is about to unfold right there in your Google search results. The company is going to begin privileging content your friends have interacted with.

In a lot of ways, this makes good sense. If one of your connections has shared a webpage on Facebook Twitter, one can assume that you'll be more interested in it than a similar story a friend hasn't shared. It portends a world of very personalized search results where your social graph (as the nerds call it) is as important as the innards of the content itself in determining what you see when you search.

Search Engine Land explains:

In some cases, Google will simply be annotating results with a social search indicator, says Google's Mike Cassidy, Product Management Director for Search. Google's traditional ranking algorithms will determine where a listing should appear, but the listing may be enhanced to reflect any social element to it.

In other cases, the social search element will change a page's ranking -- making it appear higher than "normal." This, I should add, is a personalized feature based on an individual's relationships. The ranking impact will be different based on how strong your connections are, and different people will see different results.

In some ways, this is a further extension of Google Personalized Search, even though it is separate from that.

Read the full story at Search Engine Land.

UPDATE: Google emailed to note that they do not currently use Facebook likes in their social search data, but if I had to guess, I'd say it's only a matter of time before they do.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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