Skip to Content

Google’s original breakthrough in search technology was to assess the value of a Web page according to how many other pages linked to it—an indirect measurement of how many people liked that page. Social networking offers another way to measure how many people think a page is worth looking at: examining which links users share with their friends.

While the pool of pages ranked through social networking will never be as comprehensive as that produced by Google, it has the advantage that it allows for more personalized search results. A person whose circle of friends shares a lot of sports-related content is more likely to be looking for information related to the Texas basketball team when searching for “Rockets” than someone whose friends like a lot of space-related topics.

With its hundreds of millions of users and its “Like” button, which lets users note which pages they like even while visiting other websites, Facebook is the leader in this new approach to indexing Web content (see “TR10: Social Indexing,” May/June 2011). In May, Microsoft started using data from Facebook to weight results from its search engine, Bing. Not to be left behind, Google recently added a “+1” button that allows users with public Google profiles to note pages that interest them and draws on this information to recommend pages to other users.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

AGI is just chatter for now concept
AGI is just chatter for now concept

The hype around DeepMind’s new AI model misses what’s actually cool about it

Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.

Hoan Ton-That, CEO of Clearview AI
Hoan Ton-That, CEO of Clearview AI

The walls are closing in on Clearview AI

The controversial face recognition company was just fined $10 million for scraping UK faces from the web. That might not be the end of it.

Europe's AI Act concept
Europe's AI Act concept

A quick guide to the most important AI law you’ve never heard of

The European Union is planning new legislation aimed at curbing the worst harms associated with artificial intelligence.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.