Google "Social Search" Update
On Feb. 17, Google announced an update to its Social Search feature. Social Search was launched by Google in 2009 as a beta display feature that showed "results from your social circle" at the bottom of your search results. Google has continued to build upon this feature, and its latest round of updates is designed to add relevance to the opinions of people within your social circle.
Social Search updates explained
The first significant change with this update is the inclusion of social results mixed throughout your results based on their relevance to your search query. This means that you will start seeing more results from friends and co-workers along with other "algorithmic results," based on the relevance to your search query. When social features are displayed in your results, you will see who shared the result in an annotation beneath the link and description.
Secondly, social search will include links people share on Twitter and other services like YouTube, Flickr, and their own blog or website. If someone within your circle has publicly shared a link that is relevant to your search on one of their social media profiles, this shared link may now be displayed in your search results, with an annotation of who shared the link.
Finally, in this update users are given more control over how they connect social profiles. Users will now have the option of whether they want to show connected accounts publicly on their Google profile page.
What does this mean for pharma?
Google is constantly making changes and updates to its ranking algorithms in its ongoing attempt to deliver the most relevant and appropriate results to its users. Further enhancement and prominence for social media results within normal "algorithmic" results further enhances the importance of social media optimization for pharma brands and companies engaged in social media efforts on Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and other channels. (NOTE: this update does not currently include Facebook.)