free html hit counter Q&A With Marissa Mayer - John Battelle's Search Blog

Q&A With Marissa Mayer

By - January 31, 2008

Venturebeat has an interesting Q&A with Marissa up, in it she points toward social search as a major area of development for Google.

She hints Gmail may be used to identify your friends, using their search history to influence search results for you and those in your social network. While this network would likely first be built on Gmail contacts, Marissa wouldn’t rule out importing friends from third-party networks down the road.

I think Google is struggling to figure out its approach here. Should it build a “traditional social network” like Facebook or Orkut? Should it simply be a directory, and provide a platform instead (like Open Social)? What about indexing and crawling all this social content? Will it prefer its own content?

The plot thickens.

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6 thoughts on “Q&A With Marissa Mayer

  1. Charlie says:

    If they do this, I hope it’ll be obvious whether or not my search results have been influenced somehow by the people on my contact list, and that I have the option of turning this off.

    Part of the appeal of Google is the feeling of “pristine” search results. For the search I’ve asked it to do, I want the best answer on the web. Google would have to be insane to mess with that. I don’t want to have to know the right people in order to find what I’m looking for.

  2. The obvious solution is to let each searcher OPT-In and customize what search variables they would like used when searching.

    In other words – let the user decide what factors they would like included in the SERPs. If a user has signed into Google they should have a main menu that would allow customization regarding what variables to include or not include for their search results.

    They should also be warned about privacy implications. Savvy users will always sign out and delete cookies before doing any searches – to get the most generic results. There is no one size fits all for everyone.

    It is best that Google’s Engineers and Developers NOT be so aloof and hidden from the users. They could learn alot by having constant give and interactive take and not being so theoretical in their directions.

    Look at how much influence SearchEnginesWeb has had on Google just by posting in their blogs.

  3. nmw says:

    It might be good to be able to create “tags” for friends — like “how to eat a pretzel” and then you could simply click the check-box on / off for each friend on your list.

    But I still don’t why they’re calling this “open social” — or is that something else?

  4. nmw says:

    “But I still don’t why” >> “But I still don’t understand why”

    🙂 nmw

  5. Fuzz says:

    Hi John,

    There’s a web search service heading in this direction called FuzzFind Web Search ( is a mashup of the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Windows Live) and social bookmarking sites ( to give the best results.
    Results are grouped together, showing the rankings of the individual search engines and the popularity according to the social bookmarking community.
    There’s also a feature that allows the user to tune and personalize the search results on-the-fly by simply adjusting the weight for each search source through the use of sliders.—A-Search-Engine-Bookmarking-Mashup/

  6. m@ik says:

    @Fuzz: Thanks for, it seems like this can be a very useful and effective approach of meta search. I’ll definitely give it a try.