• http://truelike.com truelike

    I think it’s tough to draw this distinction between search engines and social networks in the context of “finding answers”. More and more, we’re seeing search engines integrate social data into their results, like Twitter results in Google, Facebook results in Bing, and user reviews in Google Local. The data may come from social sources originally, but search engines are finding ways to present this data, so users don’t need to dig around in their social circles to get answers. In many (if not most) cases, it’s more useful to get answers in this form because you’ll get a broader set of opinions (like for product or restaurant reviews) rather than depending on 2-3 friends who have expertise in the area.

    Of course, there will always be certain questions that are better answered by ones’ close friends, but my point is that there is an increasingly small distinction between the traditionally algorithmic search results we’re used to and the social answers more typical of Q&A sites and social networks.

  • http://www.thedigitalconsultant.co.uk thedigitalconsultant

    Great article you have some good points and it it’s interesting to raise the issue of how social networks are having an increasing dominance on the consumer buying cycle from a digital perspective. We all know that word of mouth will remain to be the superior form of marketing with the biggest impact and most difficult to control. The problem as we’ve been aware since the word “social media” started to get bounded about was that this is going be an increasing problem/benefit for brands as more people can talk to each other about the bad/good points of their product and service.

    I don’t believe slapped a human face on the results will have any benefit. Putting “your friend opinions or comments” next to your search results is a small step forward. It will be interesting how search and social will merge. We see news items on a daily basis about how Google/Bing/Yahoo! are desperately trying to ingreate social into their search results. Perhaps this is backward? Are people more likely to trust search results from within a “walled garden” of user opinion and reviews? A place where brands have less of an influence on their results.

    Something perhaps Facebook should/are developing?