Google Social Search Update

Around a hundred years ago, in January 2007, we realized the potential of leveraging your social graph for improving search relevancy. Back then, Twitter was an unknown product called twttr (or as Michael Arrington put it: “How do their shareholders feel about side projects like Twttr when their primary product line is, besides the excellent design, a total snoozer?”), MySpace was the gorilla with a 100M users and Facebook was just starting to gain real momentum with about 20M users.

Indexing the social graph was not an easy task – Myspace users were mainly using nicknames, Facebook was still pretty small (and kept their social graph private), LinkedIn was a good source for implicit networks (their graph was also private) and Flickr was a good source of images but had very poor profile information. In short – it was a tough job finding the content which you and your friends shared online, and we had to use a lot of creative tricks to build our indices.

Fast forward to 2011, Delver is part of the Sears Holdings family, and Google is moving one step closer to Delver’s original social search vision. Their short video below resembles Delver’s pitch so much (they even use similar examples), that I went looking for the slides I presented to Google’s social team back in 2008 in Mountain View. I couldn’t find them, but I did find an old Delver presentation from 2008.

Google’s Social Search Update:

Delver product screenshot (Google’s previous version of Social Search looked pretty much like that. I wonder if it’s a result of a meeting we held with Google’s social search team back in 2008…)


An explanation of why social search is the future:

(I referred to tweets and Facebook updates as ‘micro contributions’)


‘The Problem’ slide (I remember using it because it looks very professional with all the colors and logos):


The Future:


And, finally, market landscape:


Ah, these were the days 🙂

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