Google has added a social tagging feature to Google Reader. After setting up RSS feeds in the reader, users can tag articles or Web pages and share them with friends via e-mail or syndicate them on a blog.
Just as Google Reader seemed to have been an answer to MyYahoo!, This feature seems to follow Yahoo! down the social tagging path it’s attempting to blaze with My Web (and del.icio.us).
My Web hasn’t been adopted by mainstream users to any large degree, but it hasn’t integrated it with its popular My Yahoo! personal portal, which we expect it will do. Google Reader has had even less adoption, so this tagging and sharing feature — as tagging in general has proved to only attract a small segment of early adopters — will have trouble finding users. It is also confusing to set up RSS feeds on Google Reader compared with My Yahoo! and to create tags compared with MyWeb. These will further stand in the way of attracting new users.
Tagging falls under the broader category of social search, which is slowly gaining acceptance and is being touted by many local search sites that wish to infuse social media and community layers into their content. Yahoo! and Google haven’t indicated any specific local intentions for social tagging, but they could eventually integrate it with local in ways that let users find ratings and reviews of businesses from within their group of friends, extended friends or any group that has similar geography, interest or professional track.
It requires a certain critical mass of users and contributors to make social search "work" in local, so it will take time. But it can be a powerful tool to build content around local listings that creates a level of trust among users, and thus stickiness.
We’re closely watching this area develop. Look out for a forthcoming report on social search; and if you’re at Drilling Down on Local next week, don’t miss this panel:
Social Search Is the New Black
Almost every new start-up includes a community or "social media" layer. Notwithstanding the success of MySpace (at least in being acquired for lots of money), do these new applications really offer something compelling for the end user or is this just hype and novelty? The Kelsey Group has described social networking/social media as a valuable "online word of mouth" feature that needs to be appended to or integrated into a pre-existing business model. Is "social" really the "future of search" as some have recently argued or merely a fad that will pass in time?
Manish Chandra, CEO and Founder, Kaboodle
Chris DeVore, COO and Cofounder, Judy’s Book
Andy Gadiel, CEO, JamBase
Steven E. Marder, CEO, Eurekster
Chris Tolles, VP, Sales and Marketing, Topix.net
Jeremy Zawodny, Technical Yahoo!, Yahoo!