Google will roll out its somewhat controversial Social Search feature to 19 more languages next week, the company has announced on its official blog.
Launched back in October 2009, Social Search is a feature that combines regular search results with publicly available data created by your friends’ social media activities.
Your “friends” are quite loosely defined and include people in your Google Talk friends list, your Google Contacts, people you’re following on Buzz and Google Reader, and other networks you’ve linked from your Google profile or Google Account. Google can also find your friends on public networks such as Twitter and Facebook and gather the data from their public connections as well.
The feature was recently the subject of controversy, as Facebook hired a PR company to push negative stories about Social Search in the press. Facebook claims that Google’s practices raise “serious privacy concerns”, and it’s unhappy with the fact that Google can use Facebook data for its service without Facebook’s permission.
For the most part, Google has stayed silent about the issue, although it’s noticeable that in its latest blog post about Social Search Twitter is mentioned three times while Facebook is nowhere to be seen.
Social Search should be available in 19 languages next week, with more languages on the way. Check out a video overview of the feature below.