Will FriendFeed Change the Face of Search?

Earlier this year, I wrote about FriendFeed’s new search feature and how it was a powerful tool for finding conversations about your brand. I’ve used the site a little more, and I know it’s a great way to find user-generated content as well. Now, Steve Rubel is weighing in on the discussion over the power of FriendFeed’s search, saying it could disrupt traditional search methods.

Rubel suggests that the real power lies in searching among a network of trusted friends. He says there will be a whole advertising strategy built around it, which he dubs social contextual search advertising. Rubel thinks this is where Facebook and Google are headed as well.

Really, all FriendFeed needs to do is sell contextual ads for this to happen. But FriendFeed is a long way off from disrupting search or changing search ad models. And is that the true mission of the social aggregator?

One of the best things about FriendFeed and all social sites is discovery of new things. It’s difficult to search for things you’re not aware of, making discovery more powerful than search, in my opinion.

Even so, FriendFeed needs to figure out ways to help its users manage all the noise. When you’re tracking a bunch of people who are all sending their blogs, social bookmarking votes, Tweets, etc. to FriendFeed, it gets a bit overwhelming. The new “rooms” that have been created are helpful and so is the hide feature, but tagging friends would be even better.

Plus, FriendFeed needs to watch the mobile space carefully. The attention economy will be streamlined even further and all the noise will be a distraction.

Finally, sites like FriendFeed and Twitter are all primarily used by internet marketers, bloggers, web developers, and other tech power users. Search appeals to the masses for obvious reasons, but social media sites have yet to prove staying power (Friendster, anyone?).

What do you think the future of search and social media are? Will social media overtake search or is Google here to stay? Let it fly in the comments.

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