Where identity fits in the future of search

By | March 9, 2012
I disagree. Google+ has weaved social and personal elements into the global search, not triggered a tiered search model. And here's why: it acknowledges that not all users have access to the same content.

Consider paywalls and limited distribution posts (eg posts to a specific circle). These are just two methods of restricting content to a particular set of readers. The first is within the 'global search' tier, the second is in the 'social search' tier. Thus if you are searching for a specific keyword you are searching within publically accessible content and restricted content that you have a right to view.

Thus I'd claim that Google is introducing an unavoidable matrix into the search result world: horizontally, what access has the creator granted (global, social, personal) and vertically, what access has the viewer obtained (public, restricted, private). Of course, you can't show the user this matrix. But that's what users are coming to expect.

The former is something easily indexed today. The latter is where future standards need to arise: without knowing and unifying access credentials and authorization procedures and information exchange across web platforms (i.e. removing the walls between facebook, google, elsevir, etc) we will not be able to achieve a true unified and personalized search experience.

/cc +Gideon Rosenblatt +Gregory Esau

Reshared post from +Gregory Esau

+Gideon Rosenblatt is emerging as one of the go-to people for understanding our weaving webbed world.
He's so far ahead of me, I don't even know what words to describe what he understands and I don't.

Google Tiers Search into the Global, Social and Personal
By connecting Google+ to search, Google is tiering web search into three, very useful, layers: global search, social search and personal search.

One thought on “Where identity fits in the future of search

  1. Gideon Rosenblatt

    You're bringing up a good point, +Sophie Wrobel by bringing up the question of permissions. I actually don't think it contradicts what I'm saying though. We're still going to want to filter for personal, social and global.

    The problem that you're raising is that Google doesn't necessarily have access to all the restricted information that might show up in any of these levels. It has access to my personal docs that I store in Google docs, but not stuff I store in Office Live. It has access to socially shared posts from Google+, but not from Facebook. It has access to articles from the NYT but not research papers from Thomson Reuters.

    And yes, to solve that problem, we'd need standards, which seem like they'd be extremely tricky – and yes, important. Today, the global, permission-only information is surfaced in search engines through abstracts. Don't think that would work for personal or social – at least, I can't picture it.


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