Ever since it launched earlier this year, Google’s “Search Plus Your World” initiative has been criticized for favoring results from its own social network over those from larger and more popular services like Facebook and Twitter. Even though Google’s focus on Google+ is keeping the market open for competition, social search isn’t exactly an easy field to enter. Wajam, however, a startup based in Canada, is determined to try to beat Google at its own game. The service integrates its social search tools directly onto the search result pages of Google, Yahoo, Bing and a number of other popular sites. Today, Wajam is launching a big redesign that makes it easier to use and integrates it into even more services.
Wajam is a pretty ambitious project. The company aims to index all the social status updates and links your friends share on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Support for LinkedIn is planned for later this year. Wajam looks at the status updates your friends share, but also crawls and indexes the sites they link to. It then applies its own PageRank-link algorithm to the updates and displays them alongside your regular search results.
Until now, Wajam’s results would appear at the top of Google’s own results, pushing Google’s results down the page. This wasn’t the most elegant solution, so the Wajam team has decided to now show its own results to the right of Google’s links. This update also gives users the option to turn Wajam’s results off by default and just show them on demand. With this update, Wajam now also lets you more easily filter results by social network, category (photo, video, etc.).
For now, the new design only appears on Google’s search result pages. Support for this new design on Bing and Yahoo is coming later this week.
It’s important to note that Wajam goes beyond just integrating its results on these popular search engines, though. One of the new features this update introduces, for example, is a bar that will appear at the top of all the other sites the service supports, including Amazon, Tripadvisor, Wikipedia and many others.
Given that Google’s social search results still feel rather limited these days, Wajam is definitely worth a try if you are looking to see more of your friends’ recommendations on your search result pages and across the web.