By Mike Swift
San Jose Mercury News (MCT)
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Google launched a new product Monday that will allow users to find recently updated public online postings by a person's network of friends, colleagues or media sources.
The goal of "Social Search," which came Monday afternoon at http://www.google.com/experimental, is to find relevant postings on Twitter, in blogs or other public Web content published by a user's circle of online colleagues.
Social Search would highlight content posted by those people every time a user does a Google search.
"We want to return a lot more relevant results to users, results that are either offered or linked by their social circle," said Google Fellow Amit Singhal.
A Social Search query for "Bridge School Benefit," Neil Young's annual acoustic fundraiser in Mountain View, Calif., wouldn't just produce the home page for the concert. It would also highlight any tweets, blog postings or newspaper reviews produced by a user's designated network of friends or media sources.
Google considers today's launch an experiment and is asking users for feedback. But the company says the results it had using Social Search internally were "exciting" because they allow web users to save time by finding content posted by the people or sources they are most interested in.
Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president for search products and user experience, demonstrated a version of Social Search at the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco last week. "I think it demonstrates our commitment to innovating in search," Mayer said last week.
The new product, executives said, is "completely separate" from the agreement Google announced last week to make available up-to-the-minute search results of Twitter postings. However, content available through that Twitter deal could be used to improve Social Search down the road.
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