Victus Spiritus


Google Social Search, True or False Dichotomy

08 Dec 2009

What is Social Search?

Google is known as the undisputed lead in web search. But the rise of social media sharing has lead to a large fraction of users bypassing standard search portals (no ad toll, or someone else gets the ad revenue). Our friends, colleagues and folks we respect have proved to be incredibly powerful super human filters (mortal portals, ca-ching another nickel Louis Gray).

From blogs to videos people can share media directly with their friends. Social platforms like Twitter, Friendfeed, and Facebook have taken advantage of this sharing by providing excellent channels for people to connect on. This has not gone unnoticed by large search companies like Google and Microsoft.

Google's Social Solution

Maureen Heymans shows a couple of examples of how Google has implemented social search at the end of October.

Here's the latest video showcasing real time search:

The official announcement from Google is here. You can try it out now by going to and typing in a query in the search box. Google is working to integrate social search into their data centers globally. When activated you'll see a live update box in the center of the search results page. This will be optional to users that prefer not to see it.

So where's the Dichotomy Mark?

From wikipedia a dichotomy is clealy defined:

In other words, it is a partition of a whole (or a set) into two parts (subsets) that are:

mutually exclusive: nothing can belong simultaneously to both parts, and

jointly exhaustive: everything must belong to one part or the other.
The two parts thus formed are complements. In logic, the partitions are opposites if there exists a proposition such that it holds over one and not the other.

A false dichotomy is a case which fails one or both of the above criteria (related false dilemma).

The complete set of relationships, their meaning, value and strength of influence is stored in our minds fragile memory. Our memory is subject to a change of state simple by accessing it. Businesses seek to extricate and externally duplicate as much of this (relationship) information as is profitable/possible. I should know, I am one of them. It is necessary for businesses to pony up something in exchange for this rich information. "A penny for your thoughts" is not just a saying anymore.

Until we share a complete synchronous state between our minds and a digital replication, there will always be a clear separation of social and software. Relationships shift over time, more so for weaker connections. There is a disconnect between automated search and social connectivity.

Although there are great challenges in social search, there is also vast potential. There is growing value even in the limited social data we have created thus far. We should empower each user over time to gradually map out the strength of each of their social connections and channels. This should occur through natural usage of discovery portals, and be information that is owned by the user (portable, private as desired).

Don't worry about Google not being able to cross the divide between mind and the net today. They have plenty of other portals into our world. Google Goggles will expand the ubiquity of the web into mobile even further.

Related Posts:
Harry McCracken of Technologizer breaks down Google real time search
Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb discusses 5 fabulous new features Google unveiled