Google lets Social Search out of the lab

Google’s Social Search feature is out of the labs and on, with the promise of more features to come.

Starting as a Labs project back in October, Social Search prioritises web search results from people in the user’s social circle.

To use it, users have to be signed in to their Google account, and the company recommends that they create a Google Profile complete with links to blogs, social networks and the like.

Results from Facebook, Twitter and the like only appear, however, if all the members of the social circle are signed up.

Social Search will also work on Google Images, where friends have added their Flickr or Picasa accounts to their Google Profiles.

Two new links, My Social Circle and My Social Content, allow users to look at the connections and other information that lies behind their search results.

“We think there’s tremendous potential for social information to improve search, and we’re just beginning to scratch the surface,” say Maureen Heymans and Terran Melconian on the company blog. “We’re leaving a ‘beta’ label on social results because we know there’s a lot more we can do.”

The company this week formed a Social Web team, hiring three new senior staff.