Category Archives: Social Media and Social Search

Is An Improved Version of Agent Rank Returning to Google?

Sometimes, I run across a patent that provides details on things that Google might do, but only hints at whether or not it might actually be implemented. A few years back in 2007, I wrote about a Google patent for Agent Rank, which described reputation scores for authors (to be used as an alternative to PageRank), and looked like an important part of Google’s social network, Google+. It was referred to in the patent as “Agent Rank” and people commenting upon it started referring to it as “Author Rank”.

It seemed like it was a good description of how some people whom you may have connected with in Google+ were showing up in response to queries they had some expertise within. There may have been issues with Google’s version of Agent Rank that the search engine wanted a second bite at. Google has since removed the Photos that were showing up for authors whom you might be connected to, who may have been highly ranked, seemingly based upon a reputation score, for a topic related to a query that you might perform.

There were people who wrote that while this authorship markup was removed, and author photos associated with it, the author rank scoring system that came with it was still around, like this Search Engine Land article: Google Authorship May Be Dead, But Author Rank Is Not.

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Brands Entities at Google; Crowdsourcing their Identity in a Social Network

The “Buy” Button is coming to Google shopping Results, according to Recode which reported that Google Confirms ‘Buy Button’ Is Coming. (For more about a Buy Button, see also Barbara Starr‘s Google+ Post Actionable items in GOOGLE SERPS and the “buy button”). You may have seen the Moz White Board Friday this week where Rand Fishkin asked, and answered the question, Is Brand a Google Ranking Factor?

Secret Identity
My Secret Identity,
Thomas R. Stegelmann
, Some rights reserved

I left a comment at Moz, part of which, after some research, I’d like to retract some of. I wrote:

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How Google may Rank Users in Streams

A couple of years ago, Google published a patent that described how the search engine migh rank user generated content in something like Google Plus. I wrote about that in the post, How Google Might Rank User Generated Web Content in Google + and Other Social Networks.

The patent described in that post seemed like a good match for Google+, but Google + has gone through some changes since then, recently being identified as consisting of two parts – Photos and Streams. A Marketing Land article described the streams part in more detail recently, in the article The Web Of Streams

Streamed content from a person's social network
Streamed content from a person’s social network

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What Ranking Signal is Better, HTTPS or FOAF markup, when Searcher and Searched Author are Connected?

Recently, Google announced that they would be ranking pages higher in search results when those pages use a secure protocol of https. The Google Webmaster Central blog told us so through Google Webmaster Trends Analysts Zineb Ait Bahajji and Gary Illyes, in HTTPS as a ranking signal. The use of https doesn’t necessarily make a page more relevant or more important for a search, but it could help lead to a more secure web.

Google was just granted a patent for assigning some searched sites to be deemed authoritative for a query that someone they are socially connected performed a search for. This isn’t for all queries, but rather just some queries that Google might determine are “trigger queries,” or queries that are presently popular.

And it’s not for all searchers, but only searchers that are connected to each other.

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Has Google Decided that you are Authoritative for a Query?

At Google and Bing, both search engines have been experimenting with relevance and search. Both have shown profile photographs of people whom you may be connected to at places such as Google+ (for Google) and at Facebook (For Bing) in search results that include them. Both may have changed rankings for those pages as well.

Google was showing authorship photos in search results for some authors who had set up authorship markup on their Google profiles and their web pages. Google also showed profile pictures in search results for some pages authored by some people that didn’t actually contain any authorship markup as long as those pages or domains were linked to by the author’s Google profile page as “contributors to”.

The author profiles would sometimes appear in front of articles appearing in search results for content written by specific authors from those “linked to” sources.

My links from my Google profile.

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Are You Experienced? Google Patents Social Experience Cards

Google published a patent application this week that details the user card interface Google is using for applications such as Google Now. The “invention” described in the patent enables people to share the things they want to experience, or experiences that they have gone through. The patent filing is a detailed walkthrough of how a data card interface might work, but it also details a set of social features that are unique and may be engaging enough to be adopted by a wide range of people.

searchable experiences that you can share with others

See someone behaving abnormally at a nearby wharf? Share it on an experience card with others who might be within your circles, with an even broader audience, or even the public. Have a desire to eat a gourmet meal and imbibe a bottle of wine in a cafe in Paris? Post the experience, and share it with others.

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Google Plus as Tomorrow’s Social Ebay?

Will Google Plus morph into a social version of eBay, where people can post things for sale, write reviews of their belongings and show them off to their circles?

A few days ago, the Google File System Blog reported upon a new application from Google, which it referred to by the name Google Mine (as in, “it’s mine,” rather than as in Google mining more information about your life). The post also mentions a version for Android on Google’s internal Play store. The post tells us that the app allows you to be pretty active about posting your belongings.

A screenshot from the patent showing the user interface for showing off your belongings.

As you can see, the service lets you enter a lot of information about your objects. For example, you can change the status of an object to “lent”, “given away”, “got it back”, “lost it”, “had in the past”. You can post videos about the object, write reviews, add it to a wishlist and maybe others can buy it using Google Shopping. You can also check popular items and the items others have shared.

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Google Patent Granted on Fresh Related Search Suggestions

When you search at Google, in addition to search results, Google often returns a set of search suggestions that might be related to your query. Last month, I wrote about how some of those suggested query refinements might be created follow a method invented in part by Ori Allon, in the post How Google is Generating Query Refinements the Orion Way. But that’s probably not the only source of search suggestions. A Google patent granted this week looks at how Google could grab additional refinements from very recent sources.

For example, the following search for “North Korea” shows a couple of very recent earthquake listings:

A screenshot from the patent showing search suggestions that include a couple of very recent suggestions showing earthquakes.

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