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Who needs Twitter on Google or Facebook on Bing?

o Klaus Junginger
25.02.2011 kl 17:11 | Computerworld Brazil

The good news is: Twitter feeds from your friends will appear on Google´s SERP (search engine results page), and Facebook shares and likes will enhance your social experience when searching the web using Microsoft´s Bing. The bad news is: you have to use either Google or Bing to get both features.

 

The good news is: Twitter feeds from your friends will appear on Google´s SERP (search engine results page), and Facebook shares and likes will enhance your social experience when searching the web using Microsoft´s Bing. The bad news is: you have to use either Google or Bing to get both features.

What if it´s possible to browse search results using Google or Bing and yet get all those updates from your friends and followers right there, in a simple upper section integrated to your search engine´s interface, showing whatever your contacts have shared, tweeted or liked in some of the social networks you keep a profile on?

For my surprise, such a solution is exactly what I came across earlier this week.

Wajam, a small company located in Canadian Montreal, and run by co-founder Martin-Luc Archambault along with other six designers, developers and managers, is taking that step towards what I like to call a "dream serp" (search engine results page).

Once the plug-in is installed on Firefox, Internet Explorer or on Google´s Chrome, Wajam starts gathering feeds from users´ friends on social networks, a process which may take hours depending on the number of friends and followers you have. So let it doing it´s work and (yes, you may close your browsers window or tab if you want) go walk the dog.

To get the app, users must like wajam in their facebook profile or send a message on Twitter to @wajam.

But it is slowWhen it comes to speed, it´s definitely not Google Instant Search.

The process of showing your friends results in the interface is also taking a bit longer than we´d like. For some queries it may take up to ten seconds to consolidate all content shared on Twitter or FB.

Wajam considers Google Suggest Monitor (the drop box that shows with suggestions to compete your query)whole indexing your social results more than your actual query, which can be annoying. To ignore the suggestions, users have to hit enter as soon as they end inserting the keywords.

"Improving speed and relevance as we scale is a major focus for us right now. There's a lot of data processing that happens for each link that we index and for each search that you do" says co-founder Archambault via email.While Wajam has not been developed to provide corporations a deep insight on their social resonance or brand mentions, speed is not that a problem."It´s not meant to be used by corporations...There are better tools for that", says Archambault.

In fact there are, but not for free. And free is a feature which may not last long on Wajam, as they prepare to launch a paid version of the app, designed for power users interested in getting more content.

Low adoption rateAt the website a very small number of Wajam downloads is displayed. Today it must be under 900 total downloads. The numbers may be inconsistent, specially when you see Wajam´s statement to be oversubscribed, even running on a cloud provided by Rackspace.

Bottom line: is it any good?Definitely. It´s what I like to call my dream SERP. Users is given an insight over friends and followers interests. Being away from the web for a couple of hours may cause Twitter interface to resemble a traffic jam. So users can filter content on their social environment, something that could be done using many other tools, but not directly on a interface people know as well as their backyards. Such features turn Wajam into a tool that can be used by advanced hard using web addicts, as well as by mom and grandpa.

I´d like to see Wajam being integrated on social networks such as LinkedIn and going mobile. Since both suggestions are being evaluated at Wajam right now, my guess there is good news coming for Android and iPhone users. After that, more configuration options would not harm the app. Being able to define a date range to restrict indexing and speed up the whole process would be great.

Startups like Wajam will help driving quality results for queries on Google, which has been trying to deliver more relevant results trough merging Twitter shared links on its serp whenever users have both profiles (Google account and Twitter)linked. The same goes to Microsoft´s Bing, which displayed liked and shared links on its serp.

Klaus Junginger is a reporter for Computerworld Brazil and covers mostly search-related themes. Follow Klaus on Twitter at @computerklaus. Or mail him klaus.junginger@nowdigital.com.br

Keywords: Internet  
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