Ever wish you could search Google for something and find out what others in your social network though about that topic? You now can by trying Google Social Search.
First head on over to Google Labs and click “Join this experiment” next to Google Social Search. Once joined, head back on over to Google.com and perform a search. On the results page click on “Show options” then click “Social” on the new menu on the left.
Here’s the results of my search for “ebooks” limiting to social results:
Here’s what Google says Social Search indexes:
- Websites, blogs, public profiles, and other content linked from your friends’ Google profiles.
- Web content, such as status updates, tweets, and reviews, from social services that your friends have listed in their Google profiles.
- Relevant articles from your Google Reader subscriptions.
From this you might have figured out that the more social “stuff” you do using Google-based tools, the better your results will be.
Looking for a different search engine to play with? Try spezify. Results come from Amazon, Yahoo, Twitter, Digg, eBay, MSN, and Flickr and are presented in a very graphical way. In fact, you can “browse” the results by dragging with your mouse. It may not be for everyone, but it’s definitely something you should play with at least once.
The next time you’re searching the Net for something you’re already familiar with, yourself for example, try using Blind Search. Just enter your search terms and you’ll get back the results from three different search engines: Google, Bing and Yahoo!. The catch, you don’t know which results list is from which search engine. You can browse the results then click on the “vote for this search engine” button for whichever results list you think is the best. You’ll then be shown which one you chose. The results are also being tallied and the first eight weeks of results are viewable through a link near the bottom of the page.
The site does contain the following disclaimer:
“I work for Microsoft. This site is not affiliated with my employer, it is not a Microsoft initiative, it’s simply me having fun in my spare time.”
Wondering what people are talking about right now on the Social Web? Well, you could do a Twitter search, then a BackType search, then a Delicious search, then a YouTube search, then a. You get the picture. Instead you could head on over to itpints.com and do your search there. Results will come from blogs, news sites, social bookmarks, lifestreaming, video, and images sites such as the ones I’ve previously mentioned, and more. And, as with most search engines today, you can also subscribe to an RSS feed of your results.
Bookmarklets are bookmarks that instead of sending you back to a particular Web page, instead run a script that performs some sort of action. Examples of bookmarklets I use include sending the current URL to Twitter, make the current page more readable, and add the product I’m looking at to my Amazon.com wishlist. Where can you find all of these and more? Check out the Bookmarklets Directory at marklets.com. Search by keyword or check out the highest rated, newest, most popular, or the top tags. And, if you know of one that’s not listed, you’re welcome to submit it.
I love me some search plugins. Those wonderful additions to the search box in Firefox, and more built-in to Chrome via keywords. Recently I was wondering if there was one for searching Netflix. I tried looking on the Netflix site but I couldn’t find one. I do know how to write them myself, but that’s not exactly an efficient use of my time if someone has already written one. So, off to the Google and what do I find? The Myroft Project. This is a directory of thousands of search plugins, including the Netflix one I was looking for. You can search by site name, category, country, and language. If you can’t find it here, you’ll probably have to write it yourself. (If you do, be sure to add it to the directory.)
In all my years of using, publishing, teaching, and writing about RSS I have yet to be impressed with an RSS search engine. Sure, there’s always been Technorati, Syndic8, and the search built into Bloglines but they’ve all had their individual problems. This lack of excitement ended with my discovery of feedmil.
Head on over and enter a topic but, before you click search, adjust how much you’d like your results to be surprising vs. well known. At first, I’ll just leave that setting at the default for a search on quilting. I’ve received 1351 results, all RSS feeds.
Clicking on the first result you’ll get a boat-load of information about that feed including a screenshot, feed & site URLs, feed type, popularity, update frequency, description, and a tag cloud.
I headed back to the results screen and adjusted my results to more surprising. You can see that my results have significantly changed.
Don’t forget to take a look at the additional sliders down the right of the results page which will allow you to increase or decrease the significance of other keywords that appear in your results.
PostRank tracks your blog posts to see how “popular” they are in the larger world of the blogosphere. For example, post about your breakfast, you’ll probably get a low score. Post about something that a large number of blogs are talking about, Susan Boyle for example, and that post will get a much higher score. I’m not saying you should be specifically gunning for higher scores, but at least you can get an idea how your posts score against the larger blogosphere.