Google Social Search has gone live, literally. Now when you search for a topic, Google’s universal search results feature real-time updates from social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, Jaiku, Identi.ca , and Twitter, all of which have partnered with the search engine giant. So don’t be alarmed when you see tweets appearing the second they are posted amongst your web, news, blog, video, and image search results. Google says, “When they are relevant, we’ll rank these latest results to show the freshest information right on the search results page.” Below is an example of Google’s new search results.
If you’re not seeing these live social media updates in your Google search results, click on the “Show Options” link just below the Google search bar. An “All Results” column will appear to the left of your screen. In this column, click “Updates” and your results will be sorted to show the most recent social network updates on your searched topic in real-time.
Obviously, these live results work best for hot topics. Find out the most popular searches at that moment with Google Trends. Google just added a “Hot Topics” section to this search tool, which has recently graduated from Google Labs, that lists the most common topics people are currently publishing to the web. These new social search features from Google are likely an answer to Bing’s recent integration of live tweets in their search results. Google’s implementation of live search aggregates information from more sources and features detailed sorting options. These enhanced live search elements make it hard for Yahoo and Bing to gain ground on this constantly moving target.
No one can be certain of the effect social search will have on search engine marketing, but one thing will always be true. In order for a company to control its message and image online, they’ll need to have a presence in all facets of the internet that can appear in the search results. Today, that means engaging consumers on social networks and optimizing posts with trending keywords.