Over the last year Google have been trying very hard to move in to the social space but well know Web personality Tim O'Reilly has hit the nail on the...
***** I agree and disagree with Tim O'Reilly, the person who coined the term "Web 2.0", about Google. Agree that Google is casting about like a dateless person on Saturday night, but I disagree with everything else (lol).
What does social search look like? Here is how Google is changing what "search" means:
* Floating the index so there are no absolute references anymore. What you and I see on the same keyword is different.
* Building social signals into the result set. What your friends think about things is now built into the result set you see.
* Once the index floats it can be manipulated since it has no editorial state of grace any longer. Once the index can be manipulated it can be sold and so the introduction of something Google used to decry as prostitution (Pay Per Inclusion PPI).
* Once the index can be sold it makes sense to understand HOW to sell it, thus the need for Google+.
Viewing G+ in a more restricted way, as a way to understand how to package and sell result sets, helps break the incorrect comparison to Facebook. Without Google+ the result set is too subject to social signals NOT created by Google and NOT directly accessible by Google (since neither Twitter or Facebook gives Google a priori access).
I don't see G+ as anything other than a logical extension of floating the index. Once the float is on who is Google to depend on to understand how to organize the float? Facebook? Twitter? Overwhelmed by social signals, as Eric Schmidt famously noted at the Techonomy Conference in 2010 when he noted we create as much information every 2 days as from the dawn of man until 2003, Google had to enter the social network game if only so their float wasn't wholly dependent on OPD (Other People’s Data).
What does social search look like? No one knows yet, but to the victor will go the spoils. Who will rule the world of social search and so social commerce is unclear. Facebook seems too social, so social it is hard to make money. Google is making it harder to make money, granted, but countering with moves such as PPI to assure advertisers of their ROAS (Return On Ad Spend). If I were a betting man, and by nature of my chosen profession Internet marketing I am, I would bet on Google or some garage band no one knows yet but whose tool will seamless knit right brain creative and content to left brain engineering and commerce.
I'm not saying O'Reilly has it wrong as much as the view from the cheap seats says he is missing the point. G+ is one possible future and Google had no choice if they were going to be anything other than a subsidiary of Facebook. I never see Google being so slave to someone else's master. Does Google have it right yet? Not nearly, but neither does anyone else.
Via Martin (Marty) Smith