The intensifying battle between Bing and Google for social media hearts and minds ratcheted up a few notches last week with Google announcing Google Social Search at the Web 2.0 Summit. Part of that announcement was a somewhat veiled disclosure about Google’s agreement with Twitter. See the demo below:
This interests me on at least two levels. As Google optimistically predicts, the inclusion of social commentary from your friends and family directly in your search stream represents a huge validation of the social web. Most notably, as consumers engage in purchase-related searches, having trusted individuals from their respective networks indexed promises to capitalize upon the powerful persuasion of word of mouth. Particularly for local search. Maybe you trust CNet editors more than your friend for an iPhone technical review, but your friends’ opinions will undoubtedly be more compelling when choosing which local Chinese restaurant to order from.
You can imagine the dynamics of SEO changing very quickly..as the F-pattern scan physics of browsing the top of the organic results morphs to favor scrolling down the page to see what friends have to say first. (Guess that would look more like an E.) In fact, the very mechanics and weighting of organic and paid ads could be in flux. Probably not soon…but soon enough.
It also interests me with regard to Twitter. Twitter inking these deals with Google and Bing seems like a concerted effort to entrench itself in the social web and reaffirm its value. The more it can mainline its own conversations into the mainstream search world, the better. I still think Twitter’s life and death struggle remains at the claws of Facebook, but these announcements look to benefit Twitter as much as Bing and Google.