Google updates Social Search

Links from users' circles of online contacts will now appear more prominently in results

Google is rolling out several enhancements to its Social Search feature that make links from someone's online circle of friends and contacts more prominent in query results.

Since the launch of Social Search in 2009, these "social" results appeared in a special section at the bottom of the results page, but they will now be mixed in the main list based on their relevance to the query. They'll be labeled in a special way that makes it clear they come from someone's social circle.

"This means you'll start seeing more from people like co-workers and friends, with annotations below the results they've shared or created," reads a Google blog post on Thursday.

Social Search requires that users be logged into their Google accounts and link to them whatever social networking accounts they want Google to consider when resolving search queries.

For example, logged-in Google users who have linked their Twitter, Flickr and YouTube accounts to Social Search will see links to relevant postings made by their contacts.

As part of Thursday's upgrade, users will be able to link their social networking accounts in a private manner to their Google account, whereas before these connections could only be done with users' Google profiles and were publicly visible.

The new Social Search features will be available only in English for now and will be rolled out over the coming week.

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