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In The Wake Of Bing & Facebook, Google Web Search Tests Getting More Social

Last week, Bing added new results showing what your friends are sharing on Facebook. This week, Google’s bringing more social to its results with new “Shared By” and “Recent Update” elements.

This appears to be a test, so not everyone may see it. Malcolm Coles is part of the test and posted some screenshots of what he sees. At least two editors here at Search Engine Land can also see the new links. (POSTSCRIPT: This is now officially confirmed).

“Shared By” Links

For example, in a search on tom bosley, I get a news section blended by Google Universal Search into Google’s regular results. The words “Shared by 5+” appear next to one of the news stories:

Here’s a closer look:

You can see that “Shared by” appears next to two different news stories. Clicking on the “Shared by” links takes you to Google Realtime search, where you are shown all the people who are sharing that particular news story through services such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.

For instance, here’s what comes up for the “Shared by” link next to the OK Magazine article:

“Recent Updates” Box

Another implementation is a blue “Recent Updates” box that may appear below the news OneBox section. Here’s an example I see for happy days:

Here’s another example, this time for christine o’donnell:

Clicking on the “recent updates” link brings back — via Google Realtime search — what people are saying on social networks about the search topic, rather than the links they are sharing about it.

Shared By & Recent Updates

I’ve also seen both implementations together, as shown below:

Will Google Show Shares & Updates Just From Friends?

The key difference between what Google is testing and what Bing implemented last week is that Bing is showing content only from your known friends on Facebook. In contrast, Google is showing comments and links being shared by everyone on social networks, not just those from your friends.

Google does have a way to show content from just your friends through its Google Social Search service. Possibly, Google could leverage the social circle you create through that service to make its new social links draw from just your friends.

In addition, earlier this month, Google started testing a way for some people to link their Twitter accounts to Google News. That allows those people to get shared content just from their friends on Twitter.

Our Google News Testing Twitter Integration With “Friends” story explains more about that. Potentially, Google could do the same with Facebook, though that would be much easier with Facebook’s cooperation.

Tell Me More!

For more about Bing’s and Google’s social moves and further background, see these additional articles from us:

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