In direct response to the recent partnership announcement by Microsoft and Facebook regarding social search functionality, Google too are making moves to integrate social networking data into their search results.
Only a few days ago, Facebook agreed to open its data feeds and allow Bing to index relevant information through its search page. This is a big step-up in terms of social search functionality, and goes way beyond anything that Google currently has in place.
However, when asked if Google are looking to provide a similar service, CEO Eric Schmidt said “We also have in development other ways in which people can give us that sort of information that can make it even more personal.” Schmidt is no doubt referring to ‘Google Me‘, a project that is being developed especially to socialise search engine results on a number of levels.
Schmidt and Google are well known for their distaste of private arrangements between data providers, which is exactly what this recent deal between Microsoft and Facebook is. Schmidt has said “There is always a concern that large, private collections of the data are not accessible to Web search engines.” While Google would also like access to Facebook’s data, unluckily for them Mark Zuckerberg has no plans to release it to anyone else at the moment.
Without access to Facebook data, it will be interesting to see just what shape ‘Google Me’ takes. Bing has gained some ground against Google in the past year, and this new integration with Facebook will make them the undisputed leader in the new social search arena. Social search functionality is likely to have a big impact on the Internet in the next few years, and Google are looking more and more like they have work to do if they want to stay at the front of the pack.