Our social search approach – Part I

June 18, 2007

One friday evening, about four months ago, I was discussing about “social networking” with one of my friends over a few drinks in a city pub. We were generally talking about how the whole “social” aspect to “people networking” has blended the six degrees of separation, and how “tag clouds” don’t have a silver lining after all, and how a patent on managing real-life relationships is darn ironical.

My friend (let’s call him Jack), was none the less very optimistic about the job market, and wanted to share a particular project specification with me, on which he wanted a second opinion. He had the link to this online project specification bookmarked in his browser, but didn’t remember it at that time. We wrapped up our conversation on a note that he’ll e-mail me the link to the project document.

Day’s passed by, but I didn’t hear back from him. I guess he forgot about it. I sure did, until, one bright sunday noon, when my aunt (we’ll greet her as aunt Myra) called from the other side of the world to ask me which “wirewall” should she install on her computer. Google search results sort of confused her. You see, my aunt is not one of the most tech-savvy people you’ll meet, so I took the liberty to recommend a “firewall” software I had bookmarked in my web browser. The hangup beep of the phone call, clicked something else in my head. What if, aunt Myra, Jack, and I, people who trust each others opinion, could access each others browser bookmarks in a social search environment, at our ease.

So, if aunt Myra searches for “wirewall” on Google, she instantly gets a “Did you mean: firewall” message to correct her search keyword. Another click and she should be able to view MY bookmarks tagged “firewall” on the same search results page. Now that’s peer-recommended social search! I bookmarked a firewall website, tagged it “firewall …”, and all friends in my social search network are able to search for it – using nothing else but Google web search – from anywhere in the world, at anytime!

This vague thought, also made me ask – why can’t we just use any of those social bookmarking website’s, and stay happy with a lemon soda by the beach! We could use any of those social bookmarking website’s, but will aunt “wirewall” Myra be able to use them too? Relatively, and most importantly, why not have a single usable search platform for both web search (which is by far machine ranked) as well as social bookmark search (which will be trusted human recommended)? Now that was not a million dollar question, but my second thought was could it become a million dollar question? Could the basis of this question be a turned into a usable, and profitable, Internet service?

To be continued in part II …


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