As usual, Denham Grey has produced a to-the-point piece on Social Search.
Social search is touted as the next big thing for improving information retrieval, relevance and awareness. Let's take a look.
He tells there is no good definition of Social Search, beyond the general idea that it is (web) search refined by a person's social circle. That circle could be work-mates or play-mates or both.
When I've looked at the developing options, I've always thought that it doesn't seem like it will work. Or I just couldn't quite see the point in using intermediaries in this way. I can't picture the steps I would take to search in this way, as opposed to going to my favorite search engines. Maybe the social search is what I have to do after an "unsocial" search fails to provide me with good enough answers. But then I want to interact and provide more context around my question to help my friends help me. I almost think of the role of a librarian and the reference interview used to tease out the question.
That said, I definitely use my social network to ask questions and to discover interesting things for me. This isn't so much search as it is a targeted recommendation engine. For example, I read a lot of blogs. One value I get from them is that the collection of bloggers has the ability to read and think about more things than I can alone. I can then filter and read what I wish, based on my knowledge of the blogger (and the time I choose to dedicate at the moment).