A sunset for this blog, a sunrise for another

Thursday, September 22, 2011 | 8:56 AM

When we introduced the Social Web Blog in February 2009, we said, “We think the web is better when it's social.” That’s true more than ever, as we launched the Google+ project in June and continue to add functionality to it.

This blog has been a great way to communicate about social efforts across Google. However, we’ve decided to limit the number of blogs we maintain in this area. To keep up with Google’s efforts to make the web more social, please join us on the new Google+ Platform blog.

Add +1 to help your site stand out

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 | 9:37 PM

(Cross-posted on the Webmaster Central Blog and the Inside Adsense Blog)

Webmaster level: Intermediate

When we introduced the +1 button in March, Google search took a small step in an important direction. Search results can be more helpful, and more personal, when recommendations from the people you trust are there to guide your way.

The +1 button can help publishers, too. As potential visitors see recommendations from their friends and contacts beneath your Google search results, you could see more, and better qualified, traffic coming from Google.

Since we announced +1, we’ve gotten lots of requests from Google search users and webmasters alike for +1 buttons in more places than just search results. That’s why today we’re making the +1 button available to sites across the web. Sometimes you want to recommend a web page after you’ve visited it. After all, how do you know you want to suggest that great article on Spanish tapas if you haven’t read it yet?

We’ve partnered with a few sites where you’ll see +1 buttons over the coming days:


Partner LogosAddThisMashableHuffington PostRotten TomatoesNordstromO'ReillyReutersWashington PostBest BuyTechCrunchBloomberg


You'll also start to see +1 buttons on other Google properties such as Android Market, Blogger, Product Search and YouTube.

Adding +1 buttons to your pages is a great way to help your content stand out in Google search. By giving your visitors more chances to +1 your pages, your search results and search ads could show up with +1 annotations more often, helping users see when your pages are most likely to be useful.




To get started, visit the +1 button tool on Google Webmaster Central. You’ll be able to configure a small snippet of JavaScript and add it to the pages where you want +1 buttons to appear. You can pick from a few different button sizes and styles, so choose the +1 button that best matches your site’s layout.




In the common case, a press of the button +1’s the URL of the page it’s on. We recommend some easy ways to ensure this maps as often as possible to the pages appearing in Google search results.

If your site primarily caters to users outside of the US and Canada, you can install the +1 button code now; the +1 button is already supported in 44 languages. However, keep in mind that +1 annotations currently only appear for English search results on Google.com. We’re working on releasing +1 to searchers worldwide in the future.

If you have users who love your content (and we bet you do), encourage them to spread the word! Add the +1 button to help your site stand out with a personal recommendation right at the moment of decision, on Google search.

To stay current on updates to the +1 button large and small, please subscribe to the Google Publisher Buttons Announce Group. For advanced tips and tricks, check our Google Code site. Finally, if you have any questions about using the +1 button on your websites, feel free to drop by the Webmaster Help Forum.

Social Search goes global

Thursday, May 19, 2011 | 1:00 AM

(Cross-posted on the Inside Search Blog)

In 2009 we first introduced Social Search on google.com as an experimental feature designed to help you find more relevant information from your friends and the people you care about. Since then we’ve been making steady improvements to connect you with more people and more relevant web results. Today, we’re bringing Social Search to more users around the globe.

Just like on google.com, social search results in other languages and on other domains are mixed throughout the Google results page based on their relevance. For example, if you’re looking for information about low-light photography and your friend Marcin has written a blog post about it, that post may show up higher in your results with a clear annotation and picture of Marcin:

Social search results can rank anywhere on the page, and you’ll see who shared the result in the annotation underneath.

Social Search can help you find pages your friends have created, and it can also help you find links your contacts have shared on Twitter and other sites. If someone you’re connected to has publicly shared a link, we may show that link in your results with a clear annotation. So, if you’re looking for information about modern cooking and your colleague Adam shared a link about Modernist Cuisine, you’ll see an annotation and picture of Adam under the result. That way when you see Adam in the office, you’ll know he might be a good person to ask about his favorite modern cooking techniques.

Social Search includes links people share on Twitter and other services.

So how does this all work? Social search results are only visible to you and only appear when you choose to log in to your Google Account. If you’re signed in, Google makes a best guess about whose public content you may want to see in your results, including people from your Google chat buddy list, your Google Contacts, the people you're following in Google Reader and Buzz, and the networks you’ve linked from your Google profile or Google Account. For public networks like Twitter, Google finds your friends and sees who they’re publicly connected to as well. You can see a complete list of the people included in your social search results in your personal Google Dashboard (this display is private). For an overview of Google Social Search, check out the explanatory video:


Click “cc” to see captions in your language.

Social Search is rolling out globally in 19 languages and should be available in the coming week, with more languages on the way. People around the world will find similar types of social results as people in the U.S., and we plan to introduce the +1 feature as soon as we can. With these changes, we want to help you find the most relevant information from the people who matter to you. To learn more about Social Search, check out our help center.

Beefing up goo.gl with new features

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 | 3:40 PM

(Cross-posted with the Official Google Blog)

Since we launched our URL shortener goo.gl last September, we’ve been lucky enough to build a thriving and growing community of passionate users who aren’t shy about letting us know when something could be better. We appreciate the feedback, and today we’ve completed a series of feature rollouts aimed at addressing your most common requests.

Copy to clipboard

Now you can easily copy new short URLs to your clipboard, a frequently requested feature on our forums. When a new short URL is created, the text on the page will automatically be highlighted, and you can simply press Control+C (or Command+C on a Mac) to copy it.



Remove from dashboard

You can also now remove items from your dashboard, so that you can see a quick summary of only your most important links and hide the ones you no longer need. Please note that when you hide a short URL, you’re only removing it from your own dashboard. The URL will still exist and work. You can’t add short URLs back into your dashboard once you’ve hidden them, so be sure you won’t need to find that short URL from your dashboard later. Remember that you can always view analytics for any of your short URLs by appending a “+” to the end of them (e.g., http://goo.gl/rQ6HT+). This feature will be rolling out over the next several days, and may not work immediately on mobile devices.



Spam reporting

Many of you told us that you’d like a way to tell us about goo.gl URLs that lead to spam sites. We recently set up goo.gl/spam-report for just that purpose. So far it’s helped us a lot in identifying and blocking short URLs that lead to spam, so keep those reports coming.

Ongoing speed and stability improvements

Even as we add features, we continue to focus on making goo.gl one of the fastest and most reliable URL shorteners on the web. We’ll continue working hard to ensure that we add minimal latency to the user experience and extend our track record of rock-solid reliability—we’ve had no service outages since we launched last September.

We hope you find these new features useful, and we look forward to your continued feedback.

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Introducing the +1 Button

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 | 11:11 AM


We all know what it’s like to get a bit of help when you’re looking for it. Online, that advice can come from a number of places: a tweet, a shared video, or a blog post, to name a few. With Google Social Search we’ve been working to show that content when it’s useful, making search more personally relevant.

We think sharing on the web can be even better--that people might share more recommendations, more often, if they knew their advice would be used to help their friends and contacts right when they’re searching for relevant topics on Google. That’s why we’re introducing the +1 button, an easy way for Google users to recommend your content right from the search results pages (and, soon, from your site).



+1 is a simple idea. Let’s use Brian as an example. When Brian signs in to his Google Account and sees one of your pages in the organic search results on Google (or your search ads if you’re using AdWords), he can +1 it and recommend your page to the world.



The next time Brian’s friend Mary is signed in and searching on Google and your page appears, she might see a personalized annotation letting her know that Brian +1’d it. So Brian’s +1 helps Mary decide that your site is worth checking out.



We expect that these personalized annotations will help sites stand out by showing users which search results are personally relevant to them. As a result, +1’s could increase both the quality and quantity of traffic to the sites people care about.

But the +1 button isn’t just for search results. We’re working on a +1 button that you can put on your pages too, making it easy for people to recommend your content on Google search without leaving your site. If you want to be notified when the +1 button is available for your website, you can sign up for email updates at our +1 webmaster site.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll add +1 buttons to search results and ads on Google.com. We’ll also start to look at +1’s as one of the many signals we use to determine a page’s relevance and ranking, including social signals from other services. For +1's, as with any new ranking signal, we'll be starting carefully and learning how those signals affect search quality over time. At first the +1 button will appear for English searches only on Google.com, but we’re working to add more languages in the future.

We’re excited about using +1’s to make search more personal, relevant and compelling. We hope you’re excited too! If you have questions about the +1 button and how it affects search on Google.com, you can check the Google Webmaster Central Help Center.

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Decide what the world sees when it searches for you

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 | 4:11 PM

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Admit it: You’ve searched for yourself on Google. We all have. No shame there, in fact you should. If you haven’t searched for yourself, then you’ve probably searched for friends, classmates or co-workers.

Two years ago, we launched Google Profiles to help you manage your online identity. Since then, we’ve enhanced profiles to help you connect to other public online services and improve your search results. Today, we’re starting to give Google Profiles a new look and feel, making it even easier for you to control and enrich your public profile.



We think this new design helps highlight the information that’s most important to you, making it easier for people who visit your profile to get to know you. As the new layout gradually rolls out, current users of Google Profiles will notice that their existing profile will automatically update to the new style. To update and add to your profile, simply click on the new “Edit Profile” button.

Because Google Profiles are designed to be public pages on the web, used to help connect and find real people, we’ll be asking people to provide the name they are commonly referred to in the real world. We recently outlined how we think about the different modes of online interaction across our products.

While profiles work well for individuals, we’ll continue to work on new ways for businesses to engage with their customers, so stay tuned for updates.

Don’t have a Google profile yet? Visit profiles.google.com and create a profile that best represents the way you want to be seen by the world.

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An update to Google Social Search

Thursday, February 17, 2011 | 11:27 AM

Today we’re doing a little bit more to bring you all the goodness of Google, plus the opinions of the people you care about. As always, we want to help you find the most relevant answers among the billions of interconnected pages on the web. But relevance isn’t just about pages—it’s also about relationships. That’s why we introduced Google Social Search in 2009, and why we’ve made a number of improvements since then. Today we’re taking another step forward—enabling you to get even more information from the people that matter to you, whether they’re publishing on YouTube, Flickr or their own blog or website.

First, social search results will now be mixed throughout your results based on their relevance (in the past they only appeared at the bottom). This means you’ll start seeing more from people like co-workers and friends, with annotations below the results they’ve shared or created. So if you’re thinking about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and your colleague Matt has written a blog post about his own experience, then we’ll bump up that post with a note and a picture:



Social search results can rank anywhere on the page, and you’ll see who shared the result in the annotation underneath

Second, we’ve made Social Search more comprehensive by adding notes for links people have shared on Twitter and other sites. In the past, we’d show you results people created and linked through their Google profiles. Now, if someone you’re connected to has publicly shared a link, we may show that link in your results with a clear annotation (which is visible only to you, and only when you’re signed in). For example, if you’re looking for a video of President Obama on “The Daily Show” and your friend Nundu tweeted the video, that result might show up higher in your results and you’ll see a note with a picture of Nundu:



Now Social Search includes links people share on Twitter and other services

Third, we’ve given you more control over how you connect accounts, and made connecting accounts more convenient. You can still connect accounts publicly on your Google profile, but now we’ve added a new option to connect accounts privately in your Google Account. (After all, you may not want everyone to know you’re @spongebobsuperfan on Twitter.) In addition, if our algorithms find a public account that might be yours (for example, because the usernames are the same), we may invite you to connect your accounts right on the search results page and in your Google Account settings:



The new setting enables you to choose whether or not to show your connected accounts publicly on your Google profile

For an overview of Google Social Search and our new features, check out the explanatory video:



As always, you’ll only get social search results when you choose to log in to your Google Account. We’re starting to roll out the updates today on Google.com in English only and you’ll see them appear in the coming week. With these changes, we want to help you find the most relevant information possible, personalized to your interests and the people you care about. To learn more, check out our help center.

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