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Social Search vs. Guided Search

Over the past year or so, a number of new people-guided search engines have launched, most recently Mahalo (see a good round up at Mashable). In the tradition of About.com, these new search engines attempt to augment machine-driven search results with reviewers, guides, experts and social networks. At the same time, the major search engines, in particular, Yahoo!, continue to advance social search initiatives through acquisitions (e.g., del.icio.us, Flickr) and integrations of search results with social media inputs.

It seems to me that a key opportunity continues to elude both established search engines and startups. This opportunity sits at the nexus of geographically oriented social networking services (think Yelp, Vox), mobile tagging of localized information, community-ordained expertise (think Squidoo's lens masters). Keep a lookout for killer social media mashups that leverage Google and Ask APIs to blend these elements with street-level maps and search.

From a marketing perspective, this form of localized, community intelligence mixed with social search will truly turn a page in the evolution of paid search advertising. Whoever cracks this nut will set the stage for a tremendous advancement in commercial applications for social media and consumer search behavior. 

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June 3, 2007 | Permalink

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