There has been much talk about “social search” of late, and much controversy about what lies ahead for social search networks and how they may impact mainstream search. First, what exactly is a “social search engine”? The word “social” in the term implies that the engine enables users to add their personal knowledge, opinions and experiences to the search results.
In other words, a site must enable its users to tag, comment on, vote for, manually submit information, and/or further define or share individual search results in order to be called a “social search engine”. Currently, there is little reliable data regarding the magnitude of use of social search. For example, Yahoo! Answers claims it has had 40 million questions submitted since December of 2005, but this pales next to mainstream search usage, which PEW estimated at an average of 60 million searches per day in 2005.