Published: September 4, 2013 - 02:00

Social Search

Searching for “social search” on the internet delivers over 13 million results. But the question that continues to crop up is: “What exactly is social search?”



Facebook, Google and Bing – more and more internet companies advertise with “social search”. A user profile from social networks is integrated into the search. Posts and comments from friends and contacts in social networks are displayed in the search as normal search results.

So Facebook is currently promoting its improved search for searching within your own profile and circle of friends. The question is whether a search that only focuses on this data, really offers better results? The search results are strongly dependent on the knowledge base of friends and contacts.

Why not link this searching of a restricted microcosm with the standard search?


Search engines connect implicit and explicit context in order to convey the most accurate image possible. Implicit context refers to information that can be deduced from user behaviour such as social media activities. Explicit context, in contrast, comes directly from the user through the definition of further criteria to achieve the most accurate results. This includes, for example, search queries in a company’s system, selected sorting criteria or filter criteria. Today’s usage of context information is at a fairly primitive stage.


What data is pulled into the search is different and dynamic dependent on the use case.

Schematically, the influence of social search can be depicted as follows:

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