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Looking for an Alternative to Google’s Personalized Results? Try Wajam

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Google's integration of Google+ results hasn't exactly received the thunderous applause Google probably expected. Chances are, however, it's here to stay, though that doesn't mean some enterprising developers aren't trying to come up with alternatives. With the "don't be evil" tool, even Google's own competitors have now launched a bookmarklet that brings social results from Twitter and Facebook back out of hiding on Google's search results pages. That's not a real alternative to a full-blown social search application though, as it still only relies on Google's own results. For that, I've been using Wajam for the last few month and now seems like a good time to take another look at the tool given that it presents one of the few viable alternatives to Google's own approach.

What's nice about Wajam is that it can present you with search results from Facebook, Twitter and Google+ – including private results if you give it the clearance to do so. Indeed, Wajam had integrated Google+ results long before Google even offered its own search feature for its social network.

Once installed, the Wajam extension integrates the company's own search results on the Google search results page and also takes over part of the sidebar to present you with videos, photos and recommendations from your friends from sites like Yelp and Amazon. You can also tweak which social networks you want to be included in your search.

The Wajam team, of course, couldn't stand still and just let the whole Google+ controversy pass it by, so they created the following video that shows you how it works and how it compares to the "don't be evil" tool:

Related posts:

Our original review of Wajam from 2011.

Does “Search Plus Your World” Actually Improve Your Search Results? Nope



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Wajam Wants to Make Your Social Search More Social

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Social search is, without doubt, one of the hottest topics in the search engine business today. Google and Microsoft have made it the central focus of their latest search engine features and numerous small players are also trying to get a foothold in this nascent business. Among these smaller players is Wajam, a Canadian startup that lets you easily add social search results to virtually all of the majorsearch engines and shopping sites you use today, including Google, Bing, Amazon, Tripadvisor, Wikipedia, and Yelp.

The idea behind social search has always been intriguing, as there is, after all, a good chance that the links your friends share online are more relevant to you than other links. To make this really work, though, a social search engine needs to be able to easily tap into all your social networks, not just either Twitter or Facebook. That’s where Wajam shines. It lets you connect to all your favorite social networks and then indexes all the links (and the content of the pages these links point to) that your friends have shared. Then, when you search, it transparently pins these results at the top of your regular search results on your favorite search engine.

Among the nifty features here are the ability to also add your Google+ account and search through it – something that Google still doesn’t let its users do. You can also filter results so you just see photos or just the links a specific person has shared. Earlier this month, Wajam also added a location feature, which lets you easily see who of your friends live in a given city and what places your friends have liked there.

Earlier this week, I talked to the company’s founder and CEO Martin-Luc Archambault. According to Archambault, his team mostly consists of engineers, as the company runs its own servers and has to not just pull in a very large amount of data (my friends, for example, have shared more than 3.5 million links) but also rank it. The ranking, indeed, could still use some tweaking, but in general, the search results are relevant, though the best ones are often under the fold (by default, Wajam only shows one result).

Overall, though, Wajam has turned out to be quite a useful addition to my search arsenal, especially because it pulls in data from such a wide variety of sources.

wajam_wikipedia

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