By now everyone should be aware of Facebook Graph Search which is currently in beta testing. However Google could be working on something much more wide ranging and with a far greater impact on the way we communicate with others on social media platforms.
Google’s patent for query-based circles is getting the Google+ community very excited. Simply put, it could allow users of the platform to search for things such as “people shopping in Selfridges on Friday” or “people walking in the Lake District in November”.
We can appreciate at face value that this sounds very much like Graph Search, but when you consider Google+’s potential to create a query-based circle, it becomes altogether more innovative. In theory, users could be allowed to communicate with others through common interests, even if they aren’t in any of the same social circles (online or offline).
These circles can be temporary or permanent, and rumour has it you can join anonymously. The potential is also there for circle membership ranked by relevance, using an algorithm to determine who should be invited.
In the patent examples of common interests include:
A location (e.g. bar, shop, theme park)
An event (e.g. a festival, a rave, a wedding)
A locale (e.g. a city, a shopping centre)
A route (e.g. train line, a motorway)
The social impact of this could be massive – imagine joining a circle for the train you take every day. This circle then connects you to others taking the same train as you. You’ve never met them, never even seen them. All of a sudden they have the ability to let you know the train has been delayed. Allowing you to turn a frantic sprint to catch the train, into a casual morning walk, or a quest to find alternative means.
It’s a prospect many Google+ users will be very excited about and, in our opinion, it should be implemented as soon as possible to give the platform cut-through against Facebook and its current Graph Search.
For more information on the Google+ query-based circles patent click here.