During Google’s third quarter earnings call today, CEO Eric Schmidt was asked, “With the Web becoming more social and realtime, how does Google compete in that world?” The question comes on the heels of yesterday’s announcement by Bing that it is bringing in more data from Facebook to make its search results more social.
Schmidt’s response essentially is that the Google’s search algorithm will absorb more realtime and social data over time: “With respect to social and realtime, we use complex signals to do ranking. Over time we will add realtime and social cues.” Some of this comes in the form of direct data feeds, such as Google gets from Twitter. But to really be social, search needs to be personalized to each individual’s own social stream.
Schmidt acknowledges as much: “We are quite convinced that produces a better search result for people who choose to give us that information. We want people to be more logged into Google.”
In other words, Google will give you better search results if you share your social data with them. He was later asked what can Google do if it does not have a direct relationship with all of the major social networks (meaning Facebook)? How then does it capture the social signals? Schmidt was careful not to answer that one too directly other than to say, “There are ways we can do that.” Another option he hinted at was for people to volunteer that information to Google.
And you wonder why Facebook only allows you to take your personal data in the form of a downloadable .zip file rather than an ongoing stream you could simply hand over to someone like Google. No, Google’s best bet is to get you to start generating a social stream through Google itself.