Take the Long View: Google Gets Social

In a new post, Three Key Things Google Is Doing While We Focus on Google+, Steve Rubel at Edelman points to some interesting evidence that Google is really starting to get social:

  • Authors can now embed verified HTML code tied to their Google+ profile in all their content, no matter where it appears on the web. The author’s profile image will then appear adjacent to relevant Google searches, definitely a benefit for bloggers, writers, photographers, and other content creators.
  • Google News recently launched a program that rewards regular users with social badges of authority for reading lots of news stories in a given subject matter. To start, there are badges for more than 500 topics, though as noted on the Google News blog, “This is just the first step—the bronze release, if you will—of Google News badges. Once we see how badges are used and shared, we look forward to taking this feature to the next level.”
  • They’ve enhanced Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics by adding support for tracking Google +1 mentions, which makes it easier for web site owners to understand how +1s are driving traffic to their sites. This is important, as +1 is gaining traction, despite not being nearly as ubiquitous as the Facebook Like button.
  • Although Rubel doesn’t mention it, there’s another recent Google acquisition that fits nicely in this context. Facebook now uses automated facial recognition to suggest people who might be your “friends”, so it’s no surprise that Google is keeping pace by acquiring PittPatt (Pittsburgh Pattern Recognition) a Carnegie-Mellon spin-off with innovative tools for identifying people in photos and videos. It’s well along in solving the technical issues; now it must grapple with the privacy implications.

    Links:

    Google Now Supports Author Tag:
    http://searchengineland.com/google-adds-authorship-rich-snippet-markup-80455

    Google Webmaster Blog:
    http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2011/06/1-reporting-in-google-webmaster-tools.html

    Google News Badges:
    http://googlenewsblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/shareable-google-news-badges-for-your.html

    Google Acquires PittPatt:
    http://www.pittpatt.com/