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Social and Search: The Future of the Web

While it’s nearly impossible to predict the future of the ever changing web, many experts are expecting that combining social and search will be the next big trend.  Google has already established itself as the pioneer in this field by combining Google Search and Google+; however, Google isn’t the only web giant interested in bringing the two tactics together.  It is rumored that Facebook is developing a search engine that combines a user’s location and friends’ interests to provide search query results.

Google’s Search Plus Your World was the first platform to combine the two mediums into a single interface.  Google integrated its original search platform with the social graph created by Google+ users.  When signed into your Google account while searching on the engine, you will be fed information from the original algorithm in addition to information gleaned from your social network.  For example, if you search for information on “ski reports,” you will receive the normal organic and paid search results, as well as results from what your friends have said, done, plus 1’d, shared etc.

Facebook is hot on Google’s tail, however. The social mammoth supposedly hired a team of over 20 engineers to create its own search engine.  Facebook is aiming to create an engine that can incorporate the vast amounts of data already stored about the network’s vast number of users.  Through likes, shares, status updates, friends, timelines and other avenues, Facebook controls significant data about a user’s specific behavior, interests and desires. This new type of social searching falls under the umbrella of the “semantic web,” where data is provided in a more complex and distinct way.  You can learn more about semantic search in an earlier 90blog post.

If Facebook does get into the “search” game, it could do what it has long denied attempting: become a Google competitor.  However, it could also be a big help to Google in the legal realm.  Google has been under examination by antitrust authorities lately due to privacy issues with Search Plus Your World.  If Facebook launches its own search engine, it could demonstrate that Google is not the only player in the game and, thus, is not violating laws about monopolizing markets.

While only time will tell whether Facebook Search is just a rumor, this highly anticipated product could change the way we think of and approach search engine optimization.  Google has been the front runner in SEO and paid search tactics for a long time with Google AdWords and Analytics; if Facebook launches its own search engine, the possibilities for change could be endless. Paid ads, image ads, and new approaches to SEO could be but the tip of the iceberg.

For more information on Facebook Search and Search Plus Your World, please see these articles from Mashable:

 

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