Friday, 3 October 2008

MSE360,, Social Mention and new Google Blog Search - more Social Search developments!

I have previous written about Social Search developments and a number of new sites have since appeared which are helping to develop social searching and socially influenced search. They split down into roughly two groups:

1) Search engines that harness human input to improve results
2) Search engines that serve up social media results


Based in London and in 'extreme alpha', MSE 360 uses a combination of APIs and a custom crawler called 'Fred' to pull results from the web, Wikipedia, blogs and images all into one page. The nicely laid out results are also influenced by community opinion with a '+' or '-' sign allowing users to push results up or down the rankings, though no personal / user information is stored on the MSE360 servers.

MSE360 search for 'Nick Burcher' showing variety of results from different sources
(click for larger image)

Google Blog Search redesign

"Adapting some of the technology pioneered by Google News, Google are now showing categories on the left side of the Google Blog Search page and organising the blog posts within those categories into clusters, which are groupings of posts about the same story or event. Grouping posts into clusters lets users see the best posts on a story or get a variety of perspectives. When users search within a cluster, they find a collection of the most interesting and recent posts on the topic, along with a timeline graph that shows how the story is gaining momentum in the blogosphere." (more at Official Google Blog).

Google Blog Search new homepage showing categories and cluster results
(click for larger image)

In this example, the green "255 blogs" link takes users inside the cluster and shows all the blog posts for the Sarah Palin / Joe Biden VP debate.

Google Blog Search result linking to a cluster of similar results

Social Mention

Based in Ottawa and built on the Yahoo! BOSS platform, Social Mention is a new social search engine that allows users to either search within particular channels (just blogs or just micro-blogs or just images etc) or produce a single page of aggregated social media results (more on Mashable).

I think the ability to search in just blogs or comments etc is great, though I had mixed results when I tested it. Results for 'Nick Burcher' were good in the blog search, image search and comment search (though I think Friendfeed results should be moved out of the 'comments' area - maybe into microblogging?) The relevance of the results in the microblogging and video sections were not as good though, with most of the returns not relevant to the query.

Social Mention blog results for 'Nick Burcher' (click for larger image)

Social Mention comment results for 'Nick Burcher' - though would prefer without Friendfeed returns
(click for larger image)

Social mention micro-blogging results with no results for 'Nick Burcher'
(click for larger image) has a public launch on 16th October 2008, but is operational in Beta now. aims to bring results from many sources into one page and combines virtual and real world identities in one place - including details of social network profiles, email addresses and phone numbers! also creates tag clouds, collates new results and is available in English, German, Spanish and French. search results for 'Nick Burcher'
(click for larger image)

All of the above show how quickly search is evolving and how social media information and content is helping search engines become more relevant and more useful. I think combining offline and online information in searches is a particularly notable development - though slightly creepy at the same time. Universal search has been developing (with image results and video results amongst the text based returns) but the above indicate that Universal Search is harnessing social media footprints to move to a whole new level - and it's moving there quickly!

Interesting times.........


Ryan Fitzgibbon said...

I love the fact that while Social Mention is searching it comes up with "Generating 1.21 Gigawatts". Nice touch!

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