Category Archives: Social Media and Social Search

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Google’s Agent Rank / Author Rank Patent Filing

I originally wrote the following article 6 years ago, and it was published on Search Engine Land on February 9th, 2007. At the time, I wasn’t sure if we would ever see Google find a way to meld together ranking signals from PageRank and Information Retrieval with relevance signals from authors and publishers and commentators and editors and advertisers.

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about something being referred to as Author Rank with the launch of Google Plus. The Agent Rank patent itself was granted by the USPTO on July 21, 2009. Two continuation versions of the patent were also filed by Google since then, with one stressing the portability of reputation scores for agents, and the other pointing out that not all endorsements from Agents are equal.

I hope that we never do see an “Author Rank,” but would prefer the Agent Rank described in the first patent, where the reputation scores of all of the people who put together the content of a page played a role in the ranking of that page.

If you’re interested in discussing Agent Rank today, I’m one of the moderators in the Google Plus Community Google Authorship & Author Rank. Stop on by, join if you’d like, and become part of the community.

Continue reading

Google’s Query-Based Circles Patent

Are Google’s query-based social circles the answer to Facebook’s Graph Search?

Not too long ago, Facebook launched its Graph Search, which enables people to search for things like “My Friends who live in San Francisco,” and My Friends who like Surfing,’ and “Places my Friends like.”

Imagine if Google Plus allowed you to perform searches such as, “People who take the same bus as me into the city,” or “People who like to eat at the Red Truck Bakery,” or “People attending the Dave Matthews Band Concert next Friday,” and creates in response a social network circle that other people might be invited to join, even temporarily, or who could join anonymously. Or Google Plus may dynamically create such a query-based social circle which it may recommend that you share through as you create a post about a music festival you’re going to, or a meal you’re reviewing from a local hotel.

A screenshot from the patent filing showing social circles for Google Plus, including query based circles for a a music festivals and a grand hotel.

The image above from the patent filing shows a query-based circle for a “Music Festival” and a query-based circle for a “Grand Hotel,” as well as a button to only display query-based circles in the interface.

Continue reading

Google’s Explores a User Activity Media Feed

How active is Google Plus? How active do you want it to be? One of the criticisms of the site is that its a ghost town, where nothing ever goes on. I can’t say that’s been my experience, but I can see how people can make those claims.

Would you like to see an activity stream that tells you when people you are connected to endorses something, makes a comment somewhere, downloads a song. installs a program or watches a video? Presently we see things that people want to share, but there’s potentially a lot of activity that goes on with the people we connect to that isn’t being reported. I’m not really convinced that I want to see a message everytime someone uploads pictures or downloads an electronic book.

A pending patent application from Google does describe such an activity stream, and I hope that if it’s something offered at Google plus that’s it’s easy to opt out of. I’ve seen enough of this kind of sharing at Facebook, and it reminded me of the kinds of activities I’ve seen there in the past.

A screenshot from the patent filing showing how network activity might be automatically shared by others.

Continue reading