Mark noticed something very interesting the other day, and we thought it was worth sharing. Google is now rolling your YouTube social contacts into search results for “YouTube” whenever you’re logged into your Google account–this is assuming, of course, that you have a YouTube account linked with your Google account. It’s a curious move, but a smart one.
Included with the standard sitelinks we’re used to seeing, like “Music,” “Movies,” or “My Videos,” we now also see usernames of people we frequently connect with. Here’s a screenshot of what Mark sees now when he searches for “youtube” while logged in:
When you click on the usernames, you’ll end up at that user’s main Channel page.
Now, on first glance, you might think this is an unnecessary move. After all… who goes to Google and types in “youtube,” right? Well, a whole heck of a lot of people do that, actually, as we learn at the end of every year when the most-searched-phrases lists are published. In fact, “youtube” was the 4th-most-searched term in 2009, and jumped up to 3rd in 2010, just behind “facebook” and “facebook login.”
So Google, knowing how many users search in this manner, is simply adding a new social layer to the search experience whenever it’s specific to YouTube. I think it’s great, even if I won’t be likely to use it myself (surprisingly, when I want to visit YouTube, I just go straight there instead of searching Google for it).
What’s not clear is how the users that show up are chosen, but my guess is that it’s directly tied to the amount of social behavior between those users and the searcher.
Anyone else seeing this? Is this rolled out to everyone or is it more random testing? Both Mark and I have encountered it, but there haven’t been any announcements made that I’m aware of.