Social search technology developer Wajam  has released new findings on the usefulness of social search. After sampling its extensive database of users to produce research on the state of social search, Wajam reports on the company’s blog  that 44% of all search engine queries return social search results. Regular searches are enhanced by results from friends and followers nearly half of the time, bringing added value and increasing users’ social knowledge. Social search results include any “likes,” links, comments, tweets, recommendations, reviews, photos, videos or check-ins from friends and followers.
“These findings commemorate Wajam’s recent milestone of indexing more than one-billion pieces of shared data within our first year of launching in private beta,” said Wajam Co-Founder and CEO Martin-Luc Archambault. “We have built a sound infrastructure to support the thousands of new users we are adding daily, and the exponential growth of shared content among social network users, which needs to be indexed and supported in order to deliver fast and relevant social results. It took Google twice as long  to reach this milestone. Our ability to index this data, which is growing at accelerated speeds, allows us to provide our users with suggestions for experts to follow based on topical interests.”
Through random samples of user search behavior, Wajam has explored the prominence of social search and the impact it has on everyday online activity. The company reports that of all searches returning social results, 83 percent include multiple social comments, recommendations or other items.
Wajam offers two ways to search for social results — through its Social Search Everywhere Plugin as well as the Wajam Search website. The Wajam Social Search Everywhere Plugin makes search more personal by adding social network results to all web search queries — without having to change user search behavior.
“Wajam Social Search Everywhere conveniently delivers to you what your friends are thinking when you initiate any search through Google, Bing and Yahoo, or through websites such as Amazon, Ebay, or Walmart to make social shopping a reality, or TripAdvisor to help plan an upcoming trip,” said Mr. Archambault. “There is a lot of untapped social knowledge sitting idle between Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Your network of friends and followers share lots of content across these social network platforms, and Wajam filters out the noise and imports that relevant social knowledge prominently into your favorite search engine or the Wajam search engine, giving you a social lifeline at your fingertips.”
Wajam also provides a search engine option on its site , giving users the ability to search a topic relevant to a specific friend or follower. For instance, if you wanted to find articles that David Pogue has written regarding the product DropBox, you can select Pogue and search DropBox to receive all comments/reviews made on this topic.
Using both the Search Everywhere Plugin and Wajam’s search site, users can now make sense out of what their friends are sharing. Users don’t need thousands of friends to return the best social search results. The type of friends and people you follow makes the difference. If your smaller network includes active sharers on topics of your interest, then your social search results will still be relevant. The company plans to follow up its research with ways users can increase their social knowledge or Social IQ.